Assuring organic product quality. The project initially organised workshops to install internal control systems for project sites to ensure that organic products conform with certification standards. A manual was developed to serve as a guide for farmers towards group certification under the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP). However, the process and documents became too complicated and expensive for the smallholder farmers. So the project team shifted to the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS; see article on pages 18-21). The UPLB team collaborated with the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist and MASIPAG, a local NGO recognised by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).
A series of stakeholder workshops gave birth to the development of a set of organic standards and a manual of operations for the province of Quezon. Later, a PGS committee was created by workshop participants. Quezon is now the first province in the country to establish a PGS at provincial level.