Magsasaka at Siyentipiko Para sa Pag-Unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG) has been at the forefront of organic agriculture development in the Philippines since its inception in 1986. MASIPAG farmers used their skills and knowledge, both traditional and adapted technologies, to manage pests and diseases; biodiversity conservation and breeding; use of farm available resources to manage soil fertility, proving that organic food production need not be expensive to be viable and profitable. Farmers products are certified through the MASIPAG Farmers Guarantee System or MFGS which includes peer inspection and evaluation system. Today more and more farmers are being involved in this PGS with products sold at the local market.
The increased popularity of organic agriculture signifies a positive trend for the Philippines. It was reinforced by the national government by passing Republic Act 10068, also known as the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010. Although it was enacted to “promote, propagate and develop further and implement the practice of organic agriculture in the country” and that “the government recognizes and supports the central role of the farmers, indigenous peoples and other stakeholders at the grassroots in this program”, it puts long-time organic small farmers at a disadvantage, as it limits use of the term “organic” to third party certified products. For MASIPAG, recognition of all types of certification system is crucial to include and provide incentive to all organic producers, small, big and corporate and to strengthen not only the export market but more importantly, the domestic market.
Today, MASIPAG, along with other NGOs, LGUs and academe, is pushing for the amendment of RA 10068 to recognize all types of certification system so that small farmers can regain their rights to call and label their products organic to be able to truly promote and ensure organic agriculture in the Philippines.