After the induction of MASIPAG’s organic standards to the IFOAM Family of Standards, the organic agriculture umbrella organization has now recognized MASIPAG’s own participatory guarantee system (PGS). The MASIPAG Farmers’ Guarantee System (MFGS) is MASIPAG’s guarantee for organic products grown, processed and marketed by the farmers’ organizations. The MFGS was established in 2004 and has since then helped farmers’ organizations to market their surplus production allowing the small-scale producers to earn additional income for their household needs.
In 2011, MASIPAG applied for the recognition of the MFGS to IFOAM PGS to strengthen the credibility of the system and provide better basis of product certification. The IFOAM approval serves to validate the participatory nature of the MFGS where farmers and various community members themselves inspect and monitor the organic production. Member people’s organizations (POs) are also key players in marketing strategies and approaches which they implement and sustain. MFGS embodies the core principles of MASIPAG, which is to empower farmers and communities to improve their quality of life, as well as strengthen community relations and networks.
Currently, only the third-party certification system is recognized in the Philippines by virtue of Republic Act 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010. Only the Implementing Rules and Regulations allowed for the limited use of first- and second-party certification, which was extended to 2016 according to the Department of Agriculture Administrative Order No. 8 issued last March. MASIPAG, along with an alliance of PGS practitioners and supporters have been lobbying for the amendment of the RA 10068 to officially recognize the first- and second-party certification systems.
With its approval, MASIPAG can now use the IFOAM PGS Logo on various information materials. MFGS is the first PGS to be approved by the IFOAM from the Philippines. #