GAP CERTIFIED FRUITS AND VEGETABLES AT THE NEGROS SHOWROOM
Have you visited the Negros Showroom – Our Food Market at Lacson St., Bacolod City?
This has been happening for almost 3 years now, that every Tuesdays and Fridays, a farmers’ market occupies the parking place at the Negros Showroom on Lacson Street. But when the Negros Showroom closed its branch at Lacson Street, they open Our Food Market just right beside the store.
Early morning joggers and the meticulous, health-conscious set to stop at the store, and office people find this a convenient, welcome addition to an urban commercial strip.
From farms in San Carlos City and Barangay Patag, Silay, these crops are sent in protective crates, not sacks, as a principle. Some other principle is that only potable water should be applied in the final wash of the produce. These principles are merely part of the major cause why these fruits and vegetables are not the usual. The fruits and veggies available at the Negros Showroom – Our Food Market are GAP-certified.
GAP stands for “Good Agricultural Practices,” the certification of which is published by the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Product Standards (BAFPS).
The Philippine GAP certification, adopted from the ASEAN and the global GAP, is an export requirement. So, the produce at the Negros Showroom farmers’ market is export quality.
A hallmark of a farm that is GAP-certified is its traceability. In the Code of Hygienic Practice for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, “traceability is the ability to observe the cause of produce through specified stages of production and distribution.”
Traceability means that one is able to distinguish the origin of a crop, the conditions–whether of soil, water, atmospheric condition, or farmer–with which it was planted, grown and picked, and even the farm inputs administered with it. Farm lots are properly coded, mapped, and fenced, water is analyzed for cleanliness, and fertilizers and pesticides are kept at the safest levels. All these agricultural activities and data are duly recorded and held for two years.
Good Agricultural Practices strictly uphold food safety, environmental protection, and worker’s health, but if issues on these arise, traceability ensures that things can be tracked, addressed and corrected.
From planting, to harvesting, to selling, traceability gives vegetables a history that confidently deals with questions like, how far back into the chain can you claim that a ware is “safe”, “fresh,” “fair,” “chemical-free” and “honest trade”?
Indeed, these fruits and vegetables sold at competitive prices at the Negros Showroom farmers’ market are not the usual; not the usual because these are unlike most of the harvests in the local grocery store that fall below food safety measures.
In the Philippines, only 30 farms are GAP-certified. Three of these are farmers’ organizations are in Negros. The members of these are mostly agrarian reform beneficiaries. They were all trained in GAP, qualified, and are continually updated and linked to the market.
A program called OURFood, or “Optimizing and Upscaling Roles in the Food Supply Chain” of the AFOS Foundation from Germany guides them in GAP. Its local partner is the Association of Negros Producers (ANP) which runs the Negros Showroom.
For more information about the program you may contact: