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Agri chief lauds private partners’ contributions to agri-fishery growth amid ‘perfect storm’

Author: DA Communications Group | 13 January 2021

Private sector volunteers played a major role in defining targeted programs and projects that allowed the agriculture sector to achieve a modest one percent growth last year despite the “perfect storm” that wreaked havoc on the country.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar underscored the significant contributions of the volunteer-members of the Agricultural and Fishery Councils (AFCs) in the sector’s growth despite the Covid-19 pandemic and natural disasters experienced last year.

“In this extraordinary time, the AFCs showed how dedicated they are in serving the sector. AFC members, who are mostly over 60 years old, were compelled to find new ways to voice out issues and concerns, and still craft sound policy resolutions to help the pandemic-stricken industry,” Secretary Dar said, during the celebration of the 6th National Volunteers’ Day (NVD), led by the DA’s Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF), on January 7, 2021, at the DA-BSWM, in Quezon City.

With the theme “AFC Boluntaryong Naglilingkod; Kaagapay ng Agrikultura at Pangisdaan sa Gitna ng Pandemya,” the NVD is an annual celebration that recognizes AFC officers and members for their service that helped bring change to the agriculture and fishery sector through volunteerism.

AFCs serve as a venue for private sector participation in the development processes at the national, regional, provincial, and city/municipal levels; and for consultation and dialogues among the DA agencies, bureaus, and national banner programs, with agri-fishery industry groups and civil society organizations.

An attached agency of DA, PCAF facilitates said participatory processes, consultations and dialogues to come up with policies, plans and programs for consideration and adoption by the DA management.

With the help of the AFCs and DA-PCAF’s guidance to the council members, Secretary Dar said “we are confident that the sector can ‘survive, reboot, and grow’ because 2020 has been a challenging year for all sectors and industries, including Philippine agriculture.”

He called the effects of the pandemic, ASF, and the series of typhoons that hit the country during the last quarter as “the perfect storm.”

Despite said huge challenge, “the Philippine agri-fishery sector posted respectable growth rates during the second and third quarters, at 1.2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, which we hope were sustained into the fourth quarter to give us a good full-year performance of about one percent,” he said.

Further, he asked the AFCs for their continued support and commitment in carrying out the DA’s key strategies in pursuing major programs and activities that will pave the way to attain a modest agriculture sector growth of 2.5 percent this 2021.

He added that a task force was formed to provide guidance to different DA offices and agencies in realizing the “One DA” approach, and lead in the development of work and financial plans for 2021.

The group is also tasked to:

  • Organize DA-wide PMOs to develop guidelines, coordinate joint efforts, and monitor progress of implementation;
  • Guide DA regional offices, bureaus, and agencies in the performance of their functions; and
  • Work with other task forces to consolidate and integrate guidance and plans as needed for holistic implementation.

“With everyone’s participation and enthusiasm to work together, we can strengthen and magnify the contribution of the agriculture and fishery sector in nation-building,” he concluded.

During the 6th NVD, he and PCAF executive director Liza Battad virtually presented respective awards to several AFCs under several categories. They are:

  • Most number of policy resolutions adopted: National banner program committee on livestock, poultry and feed crops; PAFCs of South Cotabato and Palawan; RAFC Northern Mindanao;
  • Most number of recruited AFCs: RAFC Central Luzon;
  • Most number of CSOs accredited: RAFC Central Luzon;
  • Most number of monitoring activities conducted: RAFC Caraga;
  • Most number of activities conducted in response to COVID-19: MAFC Irosin, Sorsogon; PAFC Aklan; RAFC Davao Region;
  • Most strategic consultations conducted: RAFC Bicol; PAFCs of Ifugao, Ilocos Norte, Bulacan, Batangas, Palawan, Camarines Norte, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga del Sur, Davao Oriental, North Cotabato, Agusan del Sur, and Lanao del Sur; AFC of the cities of Santiago, Cebu, Ormoc, Iligan, Vigan, Bayawan, and Marawi; and Municipal AFCs of Luba (Abra), Sta. Fe (Nueva Vizcaya), Sasmuan (Pampanga), Taysan (Batangas), Sablayan (Occidental Mindoro), Sta. Elena (Camarines Norte), Kalibo (Aklan), Bato (Leyte), Mahayag (Zamboanga del Sur), Tudela (Misamis Occidental), Cateel (Davao Oriental), Sto. Niño (South Cotabato), and Remedios T. Romualdez (Agusan del Norte). ### (DA StratComms)
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