Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

LGUs play crucial role in transforming agri sector – DA chief

Author: DA Press Office | 3 March 2022

“Agriculture development is a challenge too big for the Department of Agriculture (DA) to face alone. We need you in our advocacy to transform Philippine agriculture into a resilient, modern, industrialized and globally-competitive sector,” Secretary William Dar said during the general assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) on March 2, 2022.

Recognizing their leadership and significant role in nation-building, amid the protracted Covid-19 pandemic, secretary Dar urged the local government units (LGUs) to remain strong partners of the “OneDA” family in boosting the productivity of their respective farming and fishing communities and increased incomes of small farmers and fisherfolk.

The DA chief shared with the hundreds of LMP members – led by its president Narvacan, Ilocos Sur Mayor Luis “Chavit” Singson – the “OneDA Reform Agenda” with its four pillars of consolidation, modernization, industrialization and professionalization, and 18 key strategies — aimed at making the sector globally competitive, envisioning a food-secure and resilient, and teeming with empowered and prosperous farmers and fisherfolk.

“Vision is what makes one act with passion and purpose. Vision provides us with a clear objective, and with consistency, it makes us progressive. In the current situation of our country, it is important to have a clear vision of what we want to achieve short- or long-term,” Secretary Dar explained.

He suggested a 10-point agenda that the LGUs could embrace, namely:

  • Food Systems Pathway/Approach – that LGUs should adopt under their respective  food security plan to ensure production and supply of accessible, affordable, and nutritious food to their constituents, and trade the excess to neighboring areas;
  • Farm and fishery consolidation and clustering (F2C2) – to attain economies of scale, resource use and management, cost-efficient operations, and thus more profits and incomes to all players in the food value chain;
  • Agri-Industrialization – connect village-based activities to large-scale factories, processing, and marketing centers; partner with farmer-cooperatives and associations and private investors;
  • Commodity Industries Development – identify champion commodities and enhance the industries where the LGU has the comparative advantage;
  • Climate Change Resiliency – strengthen capacity for disaster risk management and early warning systems; adjust farm management practices accordingly;
  • Transboundary Pests and Diseases – put in place risk assessment, surveillance, and monitoring to control the outbreak and spread of plant and animal diseases;
  • Agricultural Infrastructure – invest in climate-proof infrastructure facilities;
  • Balanced Fertilization Strategy – encourage the use of a combination of inorganic, organic fertilizers and bio-stimulants to sustain productivity;
  •  Export Development and Promotion – produce what is highly marketable, and  promote crop diversification for export; and
  •  Digital Agriculture – encourage more, if not all, farmers and fishers to register in the Registry System for the Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA); promote the use of e-commerce/digital platforms linking farmers and fishers with direct and institutional buyers.

Secretary Dar also encouraged the LMP to come up with a well-defined strategy as a guide in crafting local policies and anchor these on the food value system as advocated by the DA.

“Your complementation efforts with the national government is also a meaningful step towards achieving a unified, streamlined, sustainable development,” he added.

He added that the implementation of the Province-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Systems (PAFES) established a strong collaboration among the DA, LGUs, academe, and the private sector to bring extension services to the grassroots level.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis are a siren call for innovation, collaboration, and exchange. Our farmers and fishers rely on us, thus we must work closely for their benefit and other agri-fishery industry players,” the DA chief said.

“We reiterate that the LGU chiefs are the real ‘food  security czars.’ You are the rowers, and we at the ‘OneDA family’ provide the steering function. Rest assured would extend the optimum assistance given our limited budget,” secretary Dar concluded. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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