Local stakeholders commit to promote GAP in Eastern Visayas

Local government and farmers committed to promote good agricultural practices (GAP) in Eastern Visayas during a consultative meeting. Held on Oct. 12 in Baybay, Leyte, the meeting was participated by local farmers; Baybay City councilors; and representatives of the Baybay City Agriculture Office, Department of Agriculture Region 8 Field Office, and Agricultural Training Institute Region 8.

The meeting is one of the concluding activities of the project “Agritourism Farms as Conduit of the Adoption of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in Eastern Visayas, Philippines.” A collaborative project of UPLB and Visayas State University, the project started in November 2021 and will be completed this December 2022.

During the meeting, the research team shared the results of the project, particularly the potential of agritourism farms in Eastern Visayas in relation to GAP certification.

Agritourism farms in Region 8 have the capability, in terms of area and facilities, to be GAP certified. But the rigorous certification process, the lack of market niche, and little knowledge and awareness on GAP products and its benefits, constrain agritourism farms and local farmers to adopt GAP and pursue GAP certification.

To address these challenges, local stakeholders committed to implement courses of action that they themselves identified during the meeting. These include 1) creating a regional advisory committee who will provide policy directions and a technical working group who will be in charge of project implementation, 2) establishing market opportunities for GAP-certified products and linking them with institutional buyers, 3) building massive GAP awareness campaign, and 4) holding a regional summit on GAP.

Represented by Councilor Jose L. Bacusmo, the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Baybay City also committed to adopting and creating a sustainable GAP program. He requested a presentation of the project results to City LGU officials for them to fully understand the actions needed to support GAP. Meanwhile, the project team committed to assist the City LGU in developing information education and communication materials to increase the public’s awareness on GAP.

The GAP project is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research through its John Dillon Fellowship. It is led by Dr. Nico Jayson C. Anastacio, assistant to the dean at the UPLB College of Public Affairs and Development and OIC Director Dhenber C. Lusanta of VSU Ecological Farm and Resource Management Institute.

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Florita P. Rañeses