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For ASEAN free trade: Mt. Province mayor exhorts farmers to improve output

Nov 19, 2015 @ 16:00

With the impending implementation of the free trade pact of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Bauko mayor Abraham Akilit of Mountain Province encourages local farmers to adhere with the ASEAN’s good agricultural practices (GAP).

GAP is the ASEAN standard for farming practices, from the production, harvesting, to postharvest handling of fresh fruits and vegetables in the region.

Akilit said GAP is aimed at preventing or reducing the occurrence of hazards in food safety, environmental impacts, worker health, safety and welfare.

“Our farmers need to be closely monitored so that whatever lapses they commit will be immediately checked by those assigned by the organizations to look over their production of agricultural crops,” the mayor said in a Baguio Midland Courier article.

“We cannot immediately perfect GAP in just one sitting,” Akilit stressed.

Likening GAP to sports, Akilit said farmers need to have strict coaches to check and correct their mistakes.

With the able assistance of experts to monitor their planting activities, local farmers will be able to adjust to the situation after one or two cropping seasons, thus, their produce will be GAP-compliant and could be sold in different markets within the ASEAN member-countries, the mayor added.

One of the major requirements for local agriculture products to be accommodated in the ASEAN member-countries is that the crops must be produced by GAP-certified farmers.

Akilit encouraged farmers from the different vegetable-producing communities in the Cordillera to wilfully embrace GAP and secure the necessary certification as GAP-compliant in order to open added market opportunities for locally-produced vegetables.

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