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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. (RA) 11511, which amended Section 2 of Republic Act No. 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010.

The new law aims to further increase the income of farmers and promote food self-sufficiency.

Section 10 of RA 11511 establishes the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS), a mechanism by which small farmers and fisher folk, farm associations or cooperatives and their products shall be certified as engaged in organic agriculture and as producers of organic agriculture products.

The PGS group composed of at least five members coming from different farms shall be registered with the municipality or city where it is predominantly located and shall secure a mayor’s permit from said locality as proof of registration.

Under RA 11511, core PGS groups shall have the following duties and responsibilities:

*develop an understanding of the organic standards

*make sure farm practices are compliant

*make a pledge that they understand and adhere to the organic standards

*conduct inspection and certification activities of member farms

*recommend which farms will be certified

*initiate key field trainings for farmer-members and residents in their locality to promote organic agriculture

*attend municipal/provincial PGS meetings and share information

*take actions on defaults/noncompliance

*assist defaulting and noncompliant members to regain certification status

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