The only 7 GAP-certified farms in Region 8 are in the City of Baybay

Seven (7) farms in the City of Baybay received Philippine Good Agricultural Practices (PhilGAP) from the Bureau of Plant Industry Department of Agriculture (BPI-DA) in 2022 and these are only GAP certified farms in Region 8. This was revealed by the Vegetable Production Coordinator of the City Agriculture Office (CAO), Ms. Jane Llanera.

These include the Mazo’s Farm in Barangay Hibunawan owned and Managed by Mr. Romeo Mazo, Uy Integrated Farm in Barangay Imelda owned and managed by Mr. Marlon Uy, Lampag Farm in Barangay Gabas owned and managed by William Albero, Rebecca Farm in Barangay Gabas owned and managed by Ms. Helen Rebecca, Bucal’s Farm in Barangay San Isidro owned and managed by  Rodelina Bucal, Chandria Integrated Farm in Barangay Gacat owned and managed by Punong Barangay Leonila Cajes, Nayre’s Farm in Barangay Gabas owned and managed by Mr. Jovan Nayre, and Basti’s Farm in Barangay Gabas owned and managed by Mr. Albert Rosillo.

Ms. Llanera revealed that is was the Local Government Unit of Baybay, headed by City Mayor Hon. Jose Carlos L. Cari, who provided all the needed inputs to these farms way back 2020, together with the other farmer cooperators in the city.  These include land preparation using the tractor of the Local Government unit (LGU) for free, seeds, farm tools, fertilizer, warehouse, protective structures, trainings, and technical support from the High Value Commercial Development Program (HVCDP) Staff from the CAO.

During harvest, the HVCDP Staff only get the necessary data such as the volume of harvest per vegetable and where they sell their produce, for record keeping, and all the sales go to the farmer as seed capital for the next cropping. Thus, Mayor Cari was pleased that despite the pandemic the farmers of the city were able to display their produce at the Kadiwa Store located at the Bagsakan Center, New Reclamation Area, across the Baybay City Public Market.

Since then, these farmers are continuously selling their produce at the Bagsakan Center on Wednesday and Saturday, even after the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office VIII transferred the Kadiwa Store to Maasin City, after seeing the increasing number of produce by the farmers in the city.

While during the presentation of the 2022 Accomplishments of the CAO, Ms. Llanera revealed that at the end of 2022, the CAO has 109 farmer cooperators cultivating 228,000 square meters of vegetable farms. Thus, Mayor Cari said that these farms must be sustained, the total land area cultivated for vegetables must be increased, and the Upland Vegetable Production Project in Barangays Monterico and Kabungaan must be expanded to Barangays Amguhan and Ampihanon.

Ms. Llanera also revealed that the Mazo Farm and the Uy Integrated Farm were GAP-Certified in July 2022 while the Lampag Farm, Rebecca Farm, Bucal’s Farm, Chandria Integrated Farm, Nayre’s Farm, and Basti’s Farm were GAP-certified in October 2022. It was Mikko Facturan from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Central Office Regulatory Division who conducted the validation, together with the BPI Region VIII Personnel Randy G. Dante and Marilyn T. Ritaga and the HVCDP Staff of the CAO.

In relation to this, the City of Baybay is thankful to the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research Good Agricultural Practices (ACIAR-GAP) Project of the Visayas State University (VSU) which conducted the Training for GAP Certification to the owners of these farms and facilitated the preparation of the documents needed for the GAP certification.

The Good Agricultural Practice Certification Program is being promoted and facilitated by the Regulatory Division of the BPI-DA in order to ensure food safety and assure quality of agricultural products while keeping high regard for environmental protection and that of workers health, safety and welfare.

It could be recalled that the first time that a farm in Region 8 got GAP-certification was in 2015 but according to the ACIAR-GAP Project Science Research Assistant Ana Leah Layola the said farm failed to sustain its GAP certification. (Marissa M. Cano, City Information Officer, Baybay City, Leyte)