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Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
Philippines 6100
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BAFPS-DA Accredits NICERT

Negros Island Certification Services (NICERT)

The Negros Island Certification Services (NICERT) has recently been accredited by the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Products Standards (BAFPS) of the Department of Agriculture, Organic Guarantee Officer Robert Gasparillo of NICERT said.

Based in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, NICERT is the first organic certification body accredited in the country in compliance with Republic Act 10068 otherwise known as “Organic Agriculture Act 2010.” Renewable every three years, accreditation is required under this law to guarantee that the certifying body is competent to carry out inspection and certification.

Aside from enhancing NICERT certified organic products’ credibility particularly in the Philippine organic market, the accreditation will also give NICERT a head start as a nationally recognized certification body in the country. NICERT is an offshoot of the memorandum of agreement signed in 2005 between the two provincial governments of Negros Oriental and Occidental to make Negros as organic food bowl in Asia.

NICERT offers a localized, independent third party organic certification system that constantly updates its crop-livestock specific organic standards and continuously seeks equivalence to that of major organic markets in the world such as Japan, Europe and US. It thus provides additional leverage for organic producers and processors who intend to obtain international certification.

Providing affordable but highly competitive certification services in the country is what NICERT stands for. Organic certification, contrary to common perception, need not be expensive. This is shown by NICERT current thrust where majority of its certified organic producers are groups of small farmers who are mostly agrarian reform beneficiaries. With provincial government subsidy for small farmers, NICERT charges smallholder groups a minimum of P10,000 while big companies are charged from P15,000 to P20,000.

Organic Coffee

Certified organic products enjoy brisk sales in country’s major urban centers such as in Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo and in Bacolod because they are healthy, environment-friendly and chemical free. Likewise, organic producers and processors can sell their products at premium price both in the national and international organic markets.

It started with only one company certified organic during its maiden year in 2008, NICERT has now 24 companies, groups, and individuals in its roster producing certified organic fertilizers, fruits, vegetables, herbs, rice, sugarcane, coffee, meat, poultry and aquaculture.

The accreditation is timely as 8 producers and processors have already applied for organic certification with NICERT. Some of the applicants are from Bohol, Cebu, Iloilo and Palawan.

Organic fertilizer of Dublin Bio-Industries based in Daan Bantayan, Cebu and organic vegetables and fruits of Orchard Valley in Pavia, Iloilo are the producers so far certified by NICERT outside Negros Island.

NICERT has also issued organic certificate to Mardal Corporation, 3KMJ Corporation and Saicor Corporation for organic sugarcane; Buro-buro Vermi Springs for lettuce, aragula, fruits, and fertilizers; Freshstart General Merchandising for fertilizers, chicken, lettuce, herbs and fruits; PJL farm for fruits and fertilizer; Tabunan farm for rice, chicken and pig; Golden Organic Agri Venture for rice, vegetables and papaya; Grassroots Agro Industrial Corp. for fertilizer

Organic Vegetables

Products of smallholder group such as carrots, legumes, rice and fruits of Iliranan Tribal Council; coffee, fruits, tubers and assorted vegetables of Sag-ang Organic Coffee Producers Association (SOCPA) and La Carlota Organic Coffee Producers Association (LACOCPA); fruits, vegetables and rice of Brilliantes Manuyod Agtutunoy Farmers Producers Association (BMAFPA); rice of Magallon Organic Farmers Federation (MOFF), Negros Institute for Rural Development (NIRD), Eco-Agri and Organic Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (OF-MPC) and Humayan Ministry also went through NICERT certification.

Organic certification is a systematic process-based approach against which an organic producer or processor seeking organic certification has to strictly follow set of standards imposed by a certification body. In addition, organic certification does not certify the end product but it covers through verification of the entire process from production to distribution chain. Once the certification body has verified conformity with the organic standards, the product can be labeled “certified organic.”