Farmers can now apply for organic certification for their produce at township agriculture departments, according to the Hlegu Township Vegetable and Fruit Research and Development Centre (VFRDC).
“The country already has organic growers. We will issue organic certificates to local farmers. So, local farmers can start applying for them. Our agriculture departments will implement the processes involved, step by step. We have formed inspections teams at the region and state agriculture departments. They will make field inspections and issue the certificates. Now, we are making arrangements to establish six criteria that growers will have to meet to get organic certification,” said U Hla Myint Aung, the Deputy Director-General of the Agriculture Department.
With the organic certification, the Agriculture Department can guarantee agricultural products that meet its criteria are chemical-free and safe for consumption.
“As we are using more chemicals in our society today, the residues from chemical fertilizers are having a negative impact on the health of the humans. But the production cost is higher for organic crops. So it is important that there is a strong market that offers good prices for organic products. Then, local farmers will also be happy to plant organic crops. At present, there are organic foodstuffs and retail shops like City Mart that sell organic vegetables and fruits. So, consumers must trust those shops and buy their products,” he said.
Currently, the department is laying down the process for organic certification. The department will form national committee, which will establish a certification body to issue the certificates.
The process will take for over four months. Local farmers and private organizations can apply for organic certificates at agriculture departments in the area.
“Our organic crops have already penetrated the Yangon market. But we still don’t have the certification. So, we cannot sell them as organic products in the market,” said U Myint Oo,an organic farmer from Hlegu Township.