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DA picks Bohol as model for prov’l agri-fishery extension

Author: DA Communications Group | 22 June 2021

Agriculture Secretary William Dar has directed the Department of Agriculture (DA) regional executive directors (REDs) to make Bohol as a model for the agency’s Province-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Systems (PAFES), one of the major strategies under the “OneDA” reform agenda to transform Philippine agriculture.

He issued the directive during the DA Management Committee (ManCom) meeting on June 8, citing a successful two-day visit in Bohol, where Governor Arthur Yap presented initiatives to develop the island-province’s agriculture and fishery sector, using the “OneDA” reform agenda as the framework.

“Governor Yap’s presentation and package of proposed projects remain one of the best we have seen to date, as he matched Bohol’s priority agri-fishery programs and plans with the OneDA agenda,” Secretary Dar said.

For his part, Yap said “we are aware that you are pursuing 18 key strategies, grouping them into four pillars, as part of the OneDA agenda. So, we laid out  our banner agriculture programs using it as a benchmark or matrix so we could see where we are lacking, based on whatever we are counterparting, and how much more we would request from the DA to fill the gaps.”

Yap said this year Bohol is funding several major agriculture and fishery projects worth P588.8 million that include the “Advance Rice Technology” (ART) program that aims an average yield per hectare of 160 cavans or eight metric tons (MT) for hybrid and 120 cavans or six MT for inbred. Other initiatives cover corn, rootcrops (ube kinampay), coconut, bangus, tilapia, seaweeds, dairy, native chicken, swine, and farm-to-market roads (FMRs).

For the farm and fishery projects, Yap said they request for additional funding support from the DA of up to P976 million, and P1.4 billion for FMRs. Secretary Dar accepted the proposal, saying it would be favorably acted upon.

Impressed by the “Bohol model,” the DA chief said: “This is exactly what we want LGUs should do, that is, focus on priority commodities and put the needed budget. Kung lahat sana ng probinsiya ay may priority setting na ganito, mas mabilis ang pag-unlad ng sektor ng agrikultura sa bawat lalawigan.”

He said in addition to Bohol, several provinces are also taking the initiative by investing much of their budget in agriculture. These include Isabela, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, Quirino, Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Cebu, and Marinduque, among others.

“We, therefore, commend the respective provincial governors, city and municipal mayors — who through all these years are doing their share in developing their respective agriculture and fishery sector. Through PAFES, and the implementation of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling next year, we would like to see more LGUs investing in agri-fishery projects that would produce traditional as well as emerging products that enjoy a comparative advantage,” the DA chief said.

According to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the ‘Mandanas-Garcia ruling’ is expected to increase the LGU’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) starting in 2022, by P234.4 billion to P1.8 trillion, or 27.6 percent more than in previous years.

With the additional IRA, Secretary Dar said LGUs could implement the PAFES in partnership with the DA, to significantly boost the delivery of devolved functions and better perform their role as the country’s “food security czars.”

“We are serious in pursuing PAFES, although we are just piloting a few provinces this year. We have sent to Malacañang a draft executive order, institutionalizing PAFES starting next year to cover all provinces nationwide,” he added.

The PAFES is one of the 18 key strategies under the “OneDA Reform Agenda,” anchored on four major pillars: consolidation, modernization, industrialization, and professionalization.

“Let us do it properly so that the rest of the provinces will follow and learn lessons from the PAFES experience. Gustung-gusto namin makipag-partner sa mga probinsiya. Agriculture is too important to be left alone with the Department of Agriculture. The DA must only do the steering. LGUs must do the rowing so that the provinces will be food-secure. There must be a sense of partnership that must be nurtured between DA and the LGUs,” Secretary Dar concluded. ### (Rita dela Cruz, DA StratComms)

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