Davao-based agri firm gets GGAP recertification

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/29 March) – For the fourth consecutive year, Davao Agricultural Ventures Corporation (Davco) has been certified as compliant with the high standards of the Global Good Agricultural Practices (GGAP).

GGAP or Global GAP is a private sector group that sets voluntary standards for the certification of agricultural products around the globe.

Davco has passed the recertification audit conducted by Latu Systemas Quality Austria (LSQA), the certifying body that sets the operational standards for agricultural practices to ensure product safety in different parts of the world.

But Elianora Lasay, Davco’s senior manager for operations, said the certification process was not easy as the company invested so much in its equipment, facilities and human resources to be able to comply with the stiff requirements.

A plantation worker loads fresh pineapples to the conveyor of the harvesting machine at the Davao Agricultural Ventures Corporation (Davco) farm in Calinan, Davao City. MiindaNews Photo by Keith BacongcoWith the recertification, Lasay added that it has contributed to the efficiency of the operations of the company.

“Although as a company, we already have our own policies in our day to day operations, GGAP has made us more efficient,” she said in an interview, adding that Davco was the first company in Asia to be accredited by GGAP.

Davco grows pineapple in Calinan and Baguio Districts in the city and in Don Carlos and Quezon towns of Bukidnon.

In its website, Davco said it adopts the GGAP protocol, which covers specific operational areas such as quality management system and documentation, review and training on workers health and safety, safety of the final product, environmental protection and animal welfare.

Under GGAP guidelines, Lasay pointed out that the company should comply 100 % of the “major must” and 95 % of the “minor must.”

“Even small amount of chemical dripping is not allowed,” she said, adding that strict compliance with a policy like this could not just help protect the environment but also help save company resources.

The GGAP accreditation, she noted, has made their workers more disciplined. “Also, we have an edge on the market because the customers are assured that our product is safe.”

Workers unload fresh pineapples from the conveyor of the harvesting machine at the Davao Agricultural Ventures Corporation (Davco) farm in Calinan, Davao City. MiindaNews Photo by Keith BacongcoAnother example, Lasay said, is requiring first aid kits in every working area, as the company strictly implements a “no personal protective equipment, no work” policy as one big factor that strengthens and upholds the company’s standards in primarily maintaining the safety of both workers and the final product.

City agriculture officer Leo Avila welcomed the recertification of Davco, saying it is as a way towards sustainable agriculture.

Avila said good agricultural practices are a standard that he believes should be followed by a lot of agriculture industry players.

To ensure compliance with the guidelines, Lasay said they are conducting regular internal assessments or inspections as part of monitoring to ensure adherence to the GGAP’s control points and compliance criteria.

In its website, it reported that with the full compliance with GGAP, it has paved the way for Davco to increase its pineapple production from 3.9 million boxes in 2010 to 4.8 million boxes in 2011. This is the highest yield in the production history of Davco since its incorporation in 1981.

Davco produces fresh Del Monte Gold pineapples for export to international markets such as Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Middle East and New Zealand.

It is a joint venture between Del Monte Fresh Produce International Inc. and Anflocor, a Mindanao-based conglomerate with business ventures primarily in agriculture, industrial services, and real estate and resort development. (Keith Bacongco/MindaNews)