The Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso J. Alcala recently signed DA Department Circular No. 01, Series of 2016, entitled “General Guidelines for the Accreditation of Abaca Plant Nurseries (AAPN)”.

     The guidelines will regulate the production and distribution of abaca planting materials which will assure the production of quality fibers and its by-products. On the other hand, the abaca plant nursery operators shall be benefitted through access to technical assistance from the government and shall be given priority in acquiring identified abaca plant propagules from the government registered mother block nurseries.

      The AAPN also serves as one of the tools to control, if not totally stop, the spread of abaca pests and diseases that has long been plaguing abaca farms nationwide.  This accreditation scheme will ensure the distribution of clean abaca planting materials.  With the AAPN, purchases of abaca plantlets cannot be done from just about everywhere since buying  can only be made from accredited growers.

      These guidelines for the AAPN were subjected to a public consultation, a series of deliberation with the  Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) representatives, Ms. Andrea Inocencio and Mr. Danilo Dannug, and fine tuning with the DA before it was  finally issued as a Department Circular.

      The general guidelines are a first in the PhilFIDA,  following the shift in its mandate after the approval of the    rationalization plan of the agency. This mandate strengthened the standards implementation and trade regulation functions of the agency and accordingly, the function of accreditation of seed growers and machine fabricators was included.

      The PhilFIDA and BPI will jointly implement this  AAPN scheme with the two agencies now sharing the same mandate on  accreditation.

      The said Circular was  published in the Philippine Star on 29 March 2016 and shall take effect fifteen days after its publication.