Philippine National Standards Specification for Organic Agriculture was initially prepared by the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP) and was adopted by the Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards (BAFPS). The BAFPS’ Technical Committee on Crops and Livestock subjected these organic agriculture standards to a series of Technical Reviews and Public Consultations. After each technical review the corresponding revision was made particularly, in the conversion, crop production and livestock se gment of the standard.
These Standards for Organic Agriculture have been prepared for the purpose of providing a uniform approach to the requirements, which is the basis of the following: conversion to organic agriculture, crop production, livestock, processing, special products, labeling and consumer information.
Organic agriculture standards consist of the following parts which linked to each other:
Part 1: Conversion to organic agriculture
Part 2: Crop production
Part 3: Livestock
Part 4: Processing
Part 5: Special products
Part 6: Labeling and consumer information
These standards should be treated as one standard on organic agriculture with the various parts complementing each other.
Conversion is the process of changing an agricultural system from conventional to organic. The period covered during this process is known as transition. This includes the total change of inputs of artificial fertilizer and/ or pesticide to inputs that conform to this standard.
Conversion is the determining factor through which an organic agriculture farming system can be certified. The converted organic production system has agricultural products that are produced on farms and livestock operations that promote a healthy ecosystem, including an encouragement of biodiversity and soil biological life. This follows a basic principle of organic farming that growing plants in healthy balanced soils produces healthy food products. Likewise, it emphasizes the use of proactive management practices to prevent problems. Furthermore, its mode of production uses mechanical, biological, and cultural methods as opposed to the use of synthetic chemicals.
Crop production in organic agriculture is holistic production management systems, which promotes and enhances agroecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It emphasizes the use of management practices in preference to the use of off-farm inputs, taking into account that regional conditions require locally adapted systems. This is accomplished by using, where possible, cultural, biological and mechanical methods, as opposed to using synthetic materials, or fulfill any specific function within the system. An organic crop production system is designed to:
* Enhance biological diversity within the whole system;
* Increase soil biological activity
* Maintain long-term fertility;
* Recycle wastes of plant and animal origin in order to return nutrient to the land,
thus minimizing the use of non-renewable resources;
* Rely on renewable resources in locally organized agricultural systems;
* Promote the healthy use of soil, water and air as well as minimize all forms of
pollution thereto that may result from agricultural practices;
Livestock operation shall meet the following requirements in terms of animal husbandry management, breeds and breeding, mutilations, animal nutrition, brought-in animals, veterinary medicine, transport and slaughter, draft animals, conversion, livestock manure, free range areas and livestock housing in accordance to this guideline.
This standard on livestock includes any cattle, sheep, goat, swine, poultry, or equine animals used for food or in the production of food, fiber, feed, or other agricultural-based consumer products; wild or domesticated game; or other non-plant life, except such shall not include aquatic animals for the production of food, fiber, feed, or other agricultural- based consumer products.
It promotes a livestock operations that promote healthy ecosystems, including an encouragement of biodiversity and soil biological life. The lists of livestock materials that are allowed, restricted and prohibited are spelled-out for the purpose of this standard.
Processing involve cooking, baking, heating, drying, mixing, grinding, churning, separating, extracting, cutting, freezing or otherwise manufacturing of food or food product. It includes changing the physical characteristics of a food, and the packaging, canning or otherwise enclosing such food in a container. It does not include sorting or cleaning if such is done with water only.
This standard of processing shall meet the following requirements in terms of post harvest operations, storage and transportation, pest control in storage and processing, ingredients of agricultural origin, other ingredients and
processing, methods of processing, methods of cleaning and packing in accordance to this guideline.
Standard on organic agriculture for special products includes herb, mushrooms and wild honey. Herb in this specific guideline is a plant that is not woody and with no persistent parts above ground level. Mushroom on the other hand is any of various fleshy fungi, including toadstools, puffballs and morels and lastly, wild honey is a sweet, viscous fluid produced by bees from the nectar collected from flowers of wild plants.
The distinct concern of this standard is the over-harvesting of wild herbs and wild honey to avoid and to ensure the sustainability of the species concerned. Despite the vehement prohibition from using chemical pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or fertilizers to the special products mentioned in this standard, mushrooms also, must be free from contamination of heavy metals and pollutants.
This individual standard specification of labeling and consumer information of organic agriculture applies to organic products that are produced, handled and processed according to these organic standards. These means that products applying organic farming systems may be labeled as “produced of organic agriculture “or similar terms.
However, specificity is definitely dependent on other standards stated above. Furthermore, ‘Organic’ is a labeling term that denotes products that have been produced in accordance with organic production standards and certified by a duly constituted body or authority.