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The Republic of the Philippines consists of an archipelago of 7,107 islands situated South East of mainland Asia and separated from it by the South China Sea. The total land area is approximately 300,000 km2. The Philippines is separated from Chinese Taipei on the North by the Bashi Channel (forming part of the Luzon Strait) and from Sabah, Malaysia (northern Borneo), on the South West by the Balabac Strait (off Palawan) and the Sibutu Passage (off the Sulu Archipelago). Bordering seas include the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean on the East, the Celebes Sea on the South, the Sulu Sea on the South West, and the South China Sea on the West. The Philippine Islands, in general, have a maritime tropical climate and, except in the higher mountains, temperatures remain warm, the annual average ranging from about 23° to 32°C throughout the archipelago. Annual normal relative humidity averages 80%. Rainfall and seasonality differ markedly throughout the islands. .
Agricultural SectorThe agricultural sector in the Philippines accounts for 14% of the GDP and involves 36% of the total labour force (CIA, 2007). Palay (unhusked rice) and corn are the two cereals widely grown in the Philippines. Coconuts is a major export earner. Other agricultural crops are sugarcane, pineapples, Cavendish bananas (a dwarf variety), mango and coffee, which are also important earners of foreign exchange. The Philippines is the leading supplier of Eucheuma seaweed accounting for about 80% of total world supply. (Department of Agriculture). Low productivity and low incomes from agriculture and fisheries are consistent with the prevalence of rural poverty. The situation is further aggravated by low farm gate prices of produce and high retail prices of food, which are among the highest in the region. In terms of area, about a third of country's 30 million hectares is used for agriculture (food crops 52%; food grains 31%; non food (pasture and cut flowers) 17%).Brief overview of organic farmingAccording to IFOAM & FiBL (2006), there are 35,000 organic farms on 14,140 hectares of land under organic management, with a share of total agricultural land of 0.12%. Although organic agriculture in the Philippines is still in its emergent or incipient phase, the discourse of organic agriculture is fast gaining ground in the country. Organic agricultural production is limited though steadily growing, reportedly between 10-20 percent annually (FAS/USDA, 2000), but reliable statistical data are hardly available. The organic market in the country has been described as a "niche market". A number of organic products are increasingly being sold in major supermarkets, with a price premium reportedly ranging from 20-30 to 30-50% over non-organic products (Yussefi & Willer, 2003). In 2005, the President of Philippines approved a document on the "Promotion and Development of Organic Agriculture in the Philippines", recognizing the potential of organic agriculture in the country and providing government supporting the development of the sector.Brief overview of key organic productsLocally grown organic products include rice, fruits and vegetables (both fresh and processed), herbs and spices, along with, soybean, and honey. Some livestock and poultry, fish, dairy products, and fertilizers are also sold as organic products. The main organic export products include muscovado sugar, fresh bananas, banana chips, and coconut oil, with Japan, Western Europe, and the U.S. as the primary destinations. Most of the organic production in the Philippines is exported to international markets. Most recently, a niche domestic market has developed and domestic demand increased (PCARRD, 2006)The networkThe organic movement in the Philippines was initiated in the 1980s by a series of uncoordinated initiatives promoted by some NGOs. With no support by the government, for the rest of the 1980s a number of other projects emerged and introduced organic farming in the Philippines. Today there are many private companies and NGOs involved in the production of organic food. The Organic Producers and Traders Association (OPTA) was formed in 1995. The Organic Farming Information Network (Phil-Organic) is an information service that provides accessible data/information to various stakeholders in the organic farming industry. MASIPAG is a farmer-led network of people's organizations, non-government organizations and scientists working towards the sustainable use and management of biodiversity through farmers' control of genetic and biological resources, agricultural production and associated knowledge. The OCCP is an independent, private, membership-based, organic-standard setting and organic certification body. The PDAP is a national network of Philippine NGOs working on the promotion of rural enterprises for poverty reduction and as tool for peace building in conflict-affected areas and also active in the promotion of organic agriculture.MASIPAG - Farmer-Scientist Partnership for Development3346 Aguila St., Rhoda Subd.,Los Baños, LagunaTel. no.: +63 (49) 536-5549E-mail: info(at)pag.orghttp://www.masipag.org/index.html OCCP - Organic Certification Center of the Philippines78 B. Dr. Lazcano StreetBarangay Laging Handa,Quezon City 1103Tel./Fax No. +632 374 8214E-mail: info(at)occpphils.orghttp://www.occpphils.org/ PDAP - Philipine Development Assistance Programme, Inc.78-B Dr. Lazcano St., Laging Handa, Quezon City, PhilippinesTel./Fax No.: +632 3730556; 3748216;3748214http://www.pdap.net/ASIAN NGO COALITION for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC)6-A Malumanay Street Corner Mayaman Street,UP Village, DilimanQuezon City 1103Philippines+632 433 7653; +632 9217498E-mail: angoc(at)angoc.ngo.phhttp://www.angoc.ngo.ph/ OPTA - Organic Producers Trade AssociationReferences- CIA FactBook, 31.05.07https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/rp.html
- FAO, 24.10.2006: Key Statistics of Food and Agriculture External Trade. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Statistics Division. www.fao.org/es/ess/toptrade/trade.asp?dir=exp&country=3&ryear=2004 and www.fao.org/es/ess/top/country.html?lang=en - FAO, IFOAM, and Earth Net Foundation (2003): Proceedings of the Seminar on the Production and Export of Organic Fruit And Vegetables in Asia.http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/AD429E/ad429e00.HTM - IFOAM & FiBL (2006): The World of Organic Agriculture. Statistics and Emerging Trends 2006. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Bonn & Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, Frick, pp. 108-117.- Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), 2006 in Organic Agriculture Information Network
- Yussefi, M & Willer, H,(2003), `The World of Organic Agriculture Statistics and Future Prospects´in International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)