DA strengthens project delivery for food security in Western Visayas

The Department of Agriculture (DA) Western Visayas’ top officials, project managers, and implementers convened on May 23 to 24 in Iloilo City for the joint Field Operations Division Review to evaluate the progress of their first-quarter objectives, assuring stakeholders from the provinces of their continuous improvement in advancing its food security efforts.

Regional Executive Director Engr. Jose Albert Barrogo emphasized that all programs, activities, and projects of the agency should be anchored on its primary aim of modernizing the climate-smart, crisis-resilient, knowledge-based, and transformative agriculture sector as mandated in the five-year Philippine Development Plan of the National Economic Development Authority.

“As we pursue our strategic goals centered on ensuring food security, I am reminding our project coordinators in the regional office and our counterparts in the provinces to focus our interventions and funding on our identified priority commodities for competitive production and marketing both in the national and international levels,” said Director Barrogo.

He added that the project planners should adopt the Philippine Development Plan as a guide in harmonizing the local initiatives with the national plans and objectives. Furthermore, integrating value chain analysis and the Provincial Commodity Investment Plans should also serve as a reference for crafting the region’s programs, projects, and services.

On the other hand, Farmer Director Buen Mondejar, who have been monitoring the projects regionwide, advised DA banner program coordinators to consider proper interventions recording and strengthening the Regional Technical Working (RTWG) in preparing correct and detailed specifications of inputs and equipment to avoid unnecessary delay in procurement.

As a cost-efficient strategy, Mondejar also suggested that DA’s Research Outreach Stations should propagate grafted seedlings of cacao and other high-value commodities for dispersal to farmers and farmers’ groups.

Focal persons and report officers of the DA Rice, Corn, High Value Crops, Livestock, and Organic Agriculture Programs have reported their industry situation in terms of the production performance and inventory of the commodities as well as the implementation status of the 2023 targeted projects as of the first quarter.

FOD’s officer-in-charge Ester Ruth Torreverde said they divided participants into breakout sessions where banner program coordinators and their representatives brainstormed with the RTWG members and came up with the appropriate policies and actions to expedite the project implementation and to resolve challenges and key issues encountered on the ground.

As an avenue to update local agricultural intermediaries across the region regarding new policies and programs concerning individual and farmers associations and cooperatives (FCAs), the accomplishment review also highlighted the presentations of project implementers from the DA, its attached bureaus, and line agencies.

Dr. Pacifico Lumawag of the DA Regulatory Division tackled recent updates of the African Swine Fever crisis management actions as well as the preventive measures being carried out by the department and LGUs to stop the incidence of Avian Influenza. Meanwhile, Dr. John Roel Hilario of the Bureau of Animal Industry enumerated the guidelines in the local transport and shipment of animals, animal products, and its by products within and outside the region.

Engr. Jimmy Eledia of the DA Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Unit informed stakeholders of the Department of Science and Technology PAGASA Climate Outlook and the DA’s strategic plans to mitigate the effects of the impending El Nino phenomenon to crops, livestock and fishery sectors.

Steve Cordero of the National Irrigation Administration Region 6 assured stakeholders that the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project II is nearing completion and will soon provide sufficient irrigation water to boost the crop production and yield particularly of farmers cultivating palay in Iloilo province.

Jean Salisna of the Philippine Coconut Authority stressed that only farmers enrolled in the National Coconut Farmers’ Registry System can benefit from the programs and initiatives of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan which is consists of the social protection, farmers organization and development, hybridization, community-based farm enterprise development, among other interventions.

Jola Lyn Tingson of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) explained the commission’s Memorandum Circular No., series of 2023 which grants Amnesty for Non-filing and Late Filing of the General Information Sheet (GIS) and Annual Financial Statement (AFS), and Non-Compliance with Memorandum Circular No. 28, Series of 2020 (MC 28).

The commission’s efforts to encourage its regulated entities to comply with the reportorial requirements under Republic Act No. 11232, or the Revised Corporation Code, include amnesty, which will take the form of a waiver or reduction of fines.

On the other hand, DA’s Regional Technical Director Zarlina Cuello thanked the provincial and municipal stakeholders for their continuous support of the fulfillment of the department’s targets. She also pledged to provide the support needed to respond to the contemporary challenges of the farmers through research and development undertakings. (Sheila Mae Toreno/DA-RAFIS 6)