Heads up, ‘plantitos’, and ‘plantitas’. The Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA), thinks that there should be an accreditation process for all those who are selling plants.
This was after ornamental agriculture, or growing plants for decorative purposes and landscape design, became popular during the lockdown period, as Filipinos look for several outlets to channel their creativity and energy.
According to BPI Agriculturist Ernie Lito Bollosa, doing so will enable the government to give flower and plant growers access to support and credit and mandate them to follow a set of guidelines in terms of the use of chemicals on their plants.
“We did observe that ornamental agriculture is booming. Buying and taking care of plants that are for decorative purposes has become a therapeutic activity for people, during the pandemic. For others who lost their jobs, they started to venture into this, become ‘plantitos’ and ‘plantitas’, and sell what they make,” Bollosa added.
It will also help ensure the well-being of the business owner and their workers while, at the same time, improves the traceability on the origin of the plants.
More importantly, having these guidelines will make sure that consumers are paying the right price—from the soil, pots, up to the plants, itself.
These are important factors that are needed to make ornamental agriculture an official, regulated industry within the farm sector.
A growing seedling
However, it may take some time to make it happen, Bollosa said.
The challenge now is coming up with a set of guidelines to help small flower and plant growers to become businessmen.
“For sure, a lot of people do not want to be regulated, especially in terms of the price, but this is going to be an inter-agency effort. In terms of price regulation, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). In terms of plant traceability, the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) will be there. In terms of the provision of the credit, DA will be there. We will help you with the capital and marketing assistance,” Bollosa further said.