Internal Control System for Organic Agriculture: ATI Trains Trainers for Small Holder Groups

DAVAO CITY--- The Department of Agriculture through the Agricultultural Training (ATI) held recently a training that focused on the importance on certification and labelling in marketing organic products.
Dubbed as the Trainers' Training on Organic Agriculture Internal Control System (ICS) For Smallholder Groups, the certification system is a device to reduce cost for farmers with low income towards a system of combined internal and external controls applicable to all types of groups, as well as a model for all organic certification.

The actvity aimed to identify and discuss the principle of organic agriculture, more importantly the need to establish documents for farmers` groups in compliance with the ICS that includes the Internal Organic Agriculture Standard; Operations Manual on policies and sanctions; ICS structure in identification of ICS Coordination or Manager, Inspector and Evaluation Committee and ICS forms like Member`s Information and Inspection Forms.
About 34 focal persons from ATI Regional Training Centers and three ATI Central Office (CO) personnel participated in Batch I of the training. While for Batch 2, some 32 coordinators for Organic Act and about four from ATI CO staff were present during the activity.
The installation of ICS would be beneficial to the organization since it has a lot of advantages, in a way that it can improve product quality and it is ready access to technical advice, information exchange, among others. Likewise, the system enables all producers to participate in the global organic market while it implements environmentally safe and sustainable production and develop good management practices. 
To make this work, the organization will need to undergo the four phases of the ICS.  Phase 1 focuses on determining the installation requirements and comprehensive appreciation of the principles of organic agriculture, while Phase 2 involves the training of the ICS staff on the tasks and functions of the internal standard and operating manual developed during the Phase 1. Phase 3 centers on the On-The-Job training for members involved in the ICS, where it also serves as the actual work on the system. Phase 4 encompasses on the evaluation of the ICS as it determines the completion and readiness of the organization.
The two batches were held on September 19 to 23 and October 3 to 7, 2011 at Tagum and Magsaysay, Davao City respectively. (Beatriz A. Yanga with reports from Nemielynn P. Pangilinan)