Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cooperation is the key




“Ang nakamit na tagumpay ng PAFC Quirino ay bunga ng isang magandang samahan, pagtutulungan at isahang pagkilos ng bawat kasapi na tinatawag na AFC volunteers sa lalawigan ng Quirino.”

Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council (PAFC) Quirino representative Dante Tobias said that these qualities shepherd the entire AFC volunteers of Quirino to secure the 2015 Gawad Saka Outstanding PACF award.

In his speech, Tobias thanked the Department of Agriculture and the local government unit of Quirino in supporting them in their agricultural needs particularly creating measures against the threats of soil degradation in the province.

source: http://www.pcaf.da.gov.ph/news/2015/gawadsakaPICC2.php

Monday, December 7, 2015

Former Sen. Lacson lauds 1st Visayas-wide AFC Congress

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Sr. addresses more than 70 participants from Regions 6,7 and 8 of the first-ever Visayas-wide AFC Congress last October 14, 2015 at Doher Hotel in Mandaue City, Cebu. Listening to the senator are PCAF Exec. Dir. Ariel Cayanan, RTD Marina Hermoso of DA-RFO7, Region 7 RAFC Chairperson Lou Cabalde, Region 8 Chairperson Edgardo Codilla and Region 6 Chairperson Ricardo Povido, Jr. 
 “Those who provide most of the nation's food remain noticeably poor.”
This is a concern raised by former Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Sr. at the opening program of the first-ever Visayas-wide Agricultural and Fisheries Council (AFC) Congress last October 14 to 16, 2015 in Mandaue City in Cebu.

The three-day event aims to provide a proper venue for consultation on regional cross-cutting topics and serve as a support mechanism among AFCs in the Visayas region. The congress was a result of a cooperation with the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Offices and the Regional AFC (RAFC) of Regions 6, 7 and 8.

Addressing more than 70 AFC officers from Regions 6, 7 and 8, the former Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Czar emphasized that one of the reasons why farmers and fisherfolks were experiencing below poverty level is corruption. It is the biggest culprit and stumbling block in alleviating poverty, exemplifying the infamous Fertilizer Fund Scam and pork barrel scam that had once highlighted the department.

He lamented that despite performing well in 1960s and 1970s, the Philippine agriculture faltered in the succeeding years, resulting to sector’s decelerating growth compared to other Asian countries.

Undeterred by these challenges, Lacson remains positive with RAFC and lauded initiatives like the Visayas-wide Congress that serves as a vehicle for progress to the agriculture and fishery sector. He also appealed to the AFC officers to fight “tooth and nail” against fraudulent entities that oppress farmers and fisherfolks.


Some of the participants pose for a photo-op during the last day of the Visayas-wide AFC Congress.
Secretary Fredelita Guiza, newly appointed secretary of the Office of the Presidential Assistance for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (OPAFSAM), also challenged AFC officers to promote convergence for a closer coordination and linkages with the private sectors especially in the grass roots level.

“We, at OPAFSAM aim to strengthen and improve the lives of the farmers. This is why we are here to update you on the programs implemented by the National Irrigation Administration, Philippine Coconut Authority and the National Food Authority that will equip you in these challenges,” Sec. Guiza added.

On the other hand, to fulfill its duty in creating an avenue for development, RAFC Region 7 Chairman Lou Cabalde presented relevant topics that could promote preparedness during calamities and disasters, as well as competitiveness amidst financial crisis.

One of these topics is the role of AFC in livelihood recovery program. The discussion was led by Engr. Edwin Andot, RAFC Chairman of Region 10 who shared how the Ecosystem Worked for Essential Benefits (EcOWEB) have helped the municipalities of Guiuan, Salcedo and Mercedes in Eastern Samar build their livelihoods after the destruction caused by typhoon Yolanda.

Through the initiatives of RAFC officials in Eastern Samar in Region 8, the beneficiaries were able to produce 160 tons of pork per year from 60 households that have helped them recover their livelihood.

To address the topic of climate change, Engr. Oscar Tabada, Chief of Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA)- Visayas Regional Services, assured the participants that the agency is enhancing its observing systems and monitoring facilities for early warning system by upgrading surveillance radars and establishment of Doppler Radar. For the benefit of the farmers and fisherfolks, there are plans of enhancement and acquisitions of facilities that will produce accurate weather forecast and conclusive advisories.

Dr. Roehlano Briones, Research Fellow II of the Philippine Institute of Development Studies at National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) also graced the congress and discussed the impact of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) Economic Community Free Trade on agriculture and fishery sector.

Earlier reports raised doubts on the negative effects of reducing tariffs and other barriers which may cause unfair competition among other countries. However, Briones pointed out that with agreement, the Philippine agriculture will have an opportunity to gain access in the ASEAN regional market.

The challenges and opportunities in agriculture preparedness and competitiveness under the “new normal” were discussed by Dr. Esteban Godilano, consultant of DA Systems-Wide Climate Change Office. In his talk, Dr. Godilano introduced the Adaptation and Mitigation Initiatives in Agriculture (AMIA) to address climate change in agriculture and how it paved the way into achieving multi-hazard maps of every local government unit to conduct tactical and strategic plans for informed decision-making.

Lastly, Baltazar Tribulano, Jr., Chief of Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office shared his knowledge on how to heighten the participants’ competencies in disaster readiness and survival planning through relating it to simple home activities.

In spite of the challenges that the agriculture sector is facing, Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) Executive Director Ariel Cayanan have expressed his admiration to all the private partners who have been a great help towards agricultural progress.

In his message, Dir. Cayanan mentioned that this is an excellent place to exchange ideas and formulate effective approach in different issues the sector is facing.

Also present in the congress were Mandaue City Councilor Jimmy Lumapas, Regional Technical Director Marina Hermoso of DA-RFO7, Region 8 RAFC Chairperson Edgardo Codilla and Region 6 RAFC Chairperson Ricardo Provido, Jr.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Baras MAFC now officially reactivated

Sealing the agreement. Baras MAFC Chairperson Manuel Gallo, Mayor Katherine Robles, DA Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Segfredo Serrano and PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan sign the Memorandum of Agreement to formalize the reactivation of the Baras MAFC.

The Philippine Council for Agricultural and Fisheries (PCAF), Baras Local Government Unit together with Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office (DA-RFO) 4-A, and the Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council (RAFC) 4-A inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) last October 19 to formalize the reactivation of the Baras Municipal Agricultural and Fishery Council (MAFC).

The MOA summarized the duties and commitments agreed by the Sanguniang Bayan of Baras and the concerned Agricultural and Fishery Councils (AFC) members during the oath taking ceremony last May 25, 2015. Present in signing were Mayor Katherine Robles, DA Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Segfredo Serrano, PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan, with the representatives from PCAF, Local Government Unit (LGU) of Baras, DA-RFO 4A, and RAFC–4A.

Also present in the ceremony were other Baras officials, and Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer (APCO) Maria Cribe, who represented the Regional Executive Director Vilma Dimaculangan. This landmark event aims to reinstitutionalize the MAFC as a venue for consultative and continuing discussions among partners in the government and stakeholders, particularly in Baras, Rizal.

DA Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Segfredo Serrano and PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan listen to Mayor Katherine Robles as she explains how they are helping their farmers in growing organic production. Also listening were representatives from PCAF, Local Government Unit (LGU) of Baras, DA-RFO 4A and RAFC–4A.

The Baras MAFC is the first MAFC to be formally reactivated since the National Agricultural and Fishery Council (NAFC) was rationalized as PCAF.

“There is a great need for the AFC’s involvement in the Local Development Councils (LDC). The role of the AFC, whose members are from the private sector, is vital. The private sector may assist and influence in the agri- fishery sectors and has an essential contribution in generating employment and investment opportunities,” said Undersecretary Serrano during the MOA signing.

Meanwhile, Executive Director Cayanan briefly explained the roles and responsibilities of the LGU and the Baras MAFC officials.

Under the agreement, PCAF will provide financial, logistical and technical support for the activities needed for the reactivation of the Baras MAFC and for the conduct of continuous consultations for the agriculture and fisheries stakeholders.


Photo shows Baras Mayor Katherine Robles, DA Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Segfredo Serrano and PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan with the representatives from Local Government Unit (LGU) of Baras, DA-RFO 4A and RAFC–4A post for a photo-op after the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement.

The DA-RFO 4-A will ensure the attainment of the thrusts and mandates of the AFC on consultation, integration, networking and advocacy in the local community. It will also supervise the reactivation activities and operations, and the MAFC project coordination and monitoring activities.

The RAFC 4-A, on the other hand, will provide direct assistance and oversee the activities regarding the reactivation of the Baras MAFC, and ensure the continuous conduct of AFC-related activities in the said town. It will also serve as channel for livelihood assistance and establishment of institutional development projects in the municipality through endorsement of projects proposals of the MAFC.

For its part, the Baras LGU will provide financial and logistical support for the strengthening and continuous conduct of activities of the Baras MAFC on top of the operational funds provided by PCAF. Also, LGU officials will attend Baras MAFC meetings, consultations and other activities, and provide assistance in the conduct of agricultural and fishery programs and projects in Baras and give advice to the MAFC members on matters and issues related to DILG.


Mayor Katherine Robles with the rest of the local government unit and Baras MAFC representatives, pay attention to PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan as he discusses the major roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders.

“The Baras local government is committed to support the agricultural development of our municipality. At present, we are aiming to get an Organic Certification in support to the growing organic production here,” said Baras Mayor Robles in her message.


Source: http://www.pcaf.da.gov.ph/news/2015/MAFC-Baras.php

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

PCAF’s GBEST paints clearer picture on gender equality

Dr. Leo Gallego, Gender Focal Person of NIA-RAFPEP, welcomes AFC volunteers during one of PCAF’s Gender-Based Effectiveness Skills Training (GBEST). The GBEST was conducted in a total of five regions this year.
To gain adequate understanding on the related concepts of gender and equality, around 200 Agricultural and Fishery Council (AFC) volunteers joined the series of Gender-Based Effectiveness Skills Trainings (GBEST) spearheaded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF).

PCAF, through the Capacity Development Section (CDS), facilitated the training which focused on three aspects: mainstreaming gender; exploring gender and culture, and recognizing gender realities and issues.

According to PCAF CDS Chief Arsenia Perez, it was the first time for most of the participants to join a gender-based training.

“It is important that AFCs know that we, at PCAF, are doing this kind of training and that this is in line with the provisions under the Magna Carta for Women,” Perez added.

The training team explained that the inclusion of the topic on Mainstreaming Gender is so that they could introduce the different gender mainstreaming processes and concepts. The AFC volunteers also learned the evolution of gender paradigms and perspectives from its early initiatives wherein women were viewed as vulnerable, helpless and needing of protection. 

The second module, which was on Exploring Gender and Culture, tackled the different factors that affect how people perceive things depending on the social norms, people and environment.


Lastly, the third module focused on Recognizing Gender Realities and Issues wherein the male and female differences are recognized and the various gender issues that need to be addressed and understand were identified.

AFC volunteers in Cagayan de Oro each raise a star symbolizing their aspirations and commitment toward a sustainable and gender equal agri-fishery sector. 
Dr. Leo Gallego, Gender Focal Person of the National Irrigation Authority-Rapid Food Production Enhancement Programme (NIA-RAFPEP), shared his expertise and served as the GBEST Learning Facilitator.

For this year, PCAF was able to facilitate five batches of the GBEST. The training of the first batch was conducted in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan last August 25 to 28 and was joined by 27 male and female AFC volunteers. For the second batch, 28 AFCs joined the training which happened at the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Regional Freshwater Fisheries Center in Bula, Camarines Sur from September 8 to 10. 

All smiles for fairness and equality. PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan joins the fourth batch of AFC volunteers from Cagayan de Oro after the three-day workshop for PCAF’s Gender-Based Effectiveness Skills Training.  
The third batch, which had 24 attendees, was held in Cebu Business Hotel in Cebu City, while the fourth batch was held at the VIP Hotel in Cagayan de Oro City with 33 participants. The final batch was comprised of 25 volunteers and was held at Pinnacle Hotel in Davao City.

With the series of GBEST workshops, PCAF CDS Chief Perez believed that AFC volunteers have recognized the right perspective towards sexual preference of individuals which will help them improve their dealings or approaches toward the other members of the AFCs as well as their husbands or wives.

With the series of GBEST workshops, PCAF CDS Chief Perez believed that AFC volunteers have recognized the right perspective towards sexual preference of individuals which will help them improve their dealings or approaches toward the other members of the AFCs as well as their husbands or wives.

Report by: Jez Campaniel
Photos courtesy of: Capacity Development Section
For more of our latest news, visit http://pcaf.da.gov.ph/

Monday, October 26, 2015

2015 Gawad Saka national winners named


Members of the 2015 Gawad Saka Board of Judges (BOJ) have recently named the national winners of this year’s Search for Outstanding Agri-fishery Achievers. Chaired by the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF), which serves as this year’s National Secretariat, the deliberation on this year’s national Gawad Saka winners was held at the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Soils and Water Management and Bureau of Agricultural Research Compounds in Diliman, Quezon City. In attendance were representatives from the private sector, the academe and the media that comprised the BOJ and the members of the various National Technical Committees (NTCs) for each of the 23 categories. BOJ members came to their decision after careful assessment of the results of the NTC’s evaluation on the top three finalists under each category. The 2015 Gawad Saka national winners will receive their respective awards in a ceremony slated in December. Left photo shows one of the breakout sessions during the BOJ deliberation. Right photo shows PCAF Executive Director and 2015 Gawad Saka National Executive Committee Chairperson Ariel Cayanan receiving the results of the BOJ deliberation as turned over by BOJ member and radio broadcaster Louie Tabing.

Source: http://www.pcaf.da.gov.ph/news/2015/deliberation.php

Thursday, October 22, 2015

2015 Gawad Saka top 3 finalists picked


After a careful selection process, the 2015 Gawad Saka Search for Outstanding Agriculture and Fisheries Achievers now has its top three finalists as presented to the National Executive Committee (NEC) last September 17, 2015 at the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority Convention Hall, Visayas Ave., Quezon City. The top three finalists for the national level of the Search were selected for each of the 23 Gawad Saka categories following the field validation and evaluation conducted by the National Technical Committees (NTCs) which were created for each category. Divided accordingly into three groups for crops, institutions and research, and livestock and fisheries, the presentations were rendered by the NTCs during the breakout sessions. Each group was respectively moderated by Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority Dir. Clarito Barron, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Administrative Services Assistant Director Atty. Benjamin Tabios and Dir. Manuel Jarmin of the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF). The final presentation materials on the finalists will be submitted to the board of judges before their deliberation on October 5. PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan, who also serves as this year’s Gawad Saka NEC Chairperson, urged NTC members to continually draw inspiration from one another in ensuring the success of the Search this year and hoped that everyone’s efforts will help make Gawad Saka remain a relevant undertaking in the ever-changing agri-socioeconomic landscape. He also thanked everyone for the support being given to PCAF which serves as this year’s Gawad Saka National Secretariat.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Isidro Acosta is chairman of AGRILINK 2015


Philippine Maize Federation (PhilMaize) vice president and Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Council (RAFC) chairman Isidro Acosta has been tapped as chairman of the 22nd Agrilink International Trade Exhibit, slated on October 15 to 17 to be held at World Trade Center Manila.

As a corn farmer, he cited the success of Cagayan Valley’s corn production has increased to 1.857 million metric tons, contributing 24% of the country’s total corn output as of last year. The growth is driven by the promotion of yield-boosting and cost-reducing technologies such as hybrid corn seeds currently being subsidized and implemented by the DA’s Cagayan Valley Research Center (CVRC); expansion of corn planting into idle and new arable land; investment in postharvest facilities and farm mechanization technologies to increase production, reduce losses and improve quality; and development of linkages to create a competitive and sustainable market for the corn industry.

Acosta’s expertise will help provide entrepreneurs, stakeholders, and consumers a better understanding of how regional agribusiness development can improve our supply and value chains as well as address the increasingly changing consumer demand and the new technologies needed to keep our agricultural products globally competitive. “The regional agribusiness development approach to Cagayan Valley’s corn industry creates a competitive advantage where it brings cohesiveness into the various corn development initiatives from the government and private sectors. Some of these include the continuous implementation of the DA’s farm machinery program through the provision of equipment such as four-wheel drive tractors and implements for land preparation, planters and multi-crop combine harvesters, as well as infrastructure support through the Cagayan Valley Integrated Agricultural Laboratory, One Stop Shop Agribusiness Center, Agribusiness Development Centers and Agri-Pinoy Trading Centers, which also provide marketing assistance to farmers and cooperatives. Moreover, Region II corn farmers lead in mechanized land preparation. There is also increasing investment on processing, value-adding and storage facilities. The Mindanao Grains Processing Center in Reina Mercedes, Isabela, for instance, is the biggest in Southeast Asia,” Acosta said during an interview.

Aside from having 11 private feed manufacturers, plans are under-way to establish multi-commodity corn processing plants which can produce by-products such as corn flakes, oil, flour and grits. These can also create unique value-added products such as Gourmix, a rice and corn-based instant food developed by CVRC. In addition, the DA has provided accreditation and certification on Good Agricultural Practices for 118 corn, rice and mango farmers in Nueva Vizcaya to ensure high quality and competitive products. The region is also planning to establish commercial swine, poultry, livestock, cattle and dairy production and processing facilities, whose components include forage development, breeding management, disease prevention and control, animal health and reproductive management.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

PCAF joins efforts to strengthen aquaculture engineering

The National Consultative Workshop on Aquaculture Engineering and Aquaculture-Fisheries Research Development and Extension Agenda for the Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization RDE Network drew participants from various government agencies, agricultural engineering organizations and the academe, including staff from PCAF and representatives from the Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries Mechanization.
Around 100 officials from various government agencies, agricultural and aquacultural engineering organizations and academic institutions gathered on July 21-22, 2015 to tackle the development of aquaculture engineering in the country.

Recognizing the vital role of aquaculture engineering in the development of the fisheries sector, a National Consultative Workshop on Aquaculture Engineering and Aquaculture-Fisheries Research Development and Extension (RDE) Agenda for the Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization RDE Network (AFMechRDEN) was held at the Electrical Engineering Building, College of Engineering and Agro-industrial Technology, University of the Philippines, Los Baños, Laguna (UPLB).

Spearheaded by the UPLB-Agricultural Mechanization Development Program (AMDP), the Professional Regulations Commission-Board of Agricultural Engineering and the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries through the Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries Mechanization, the consultative workshop served as a venue to strengthen and advance agricultural and biosystems engineering, particularly in the field of aquaculture engineering for the overall development and improvement of the agricultural and fisheries mechanization sector.

During the workshop, the participants reviewed and updated the aquaculture engineering-related courses in higher education institutions (HEIs) and the table of specifications in the board exams. They also reviewed and planned for the operationalization of the Aquaculture Engineering Practice of Agricultural Engineers and prioritization of Aquaculture Engineering Standards for development.

The workshop also focused on the training regulations on aquaculture mechanization and the Aquaculture and Fisheries Agenda for inclusion in the AFMechRDEN HEI Agenda.

Prior to the workshop, resource persons discussed various related topics such as the Agri-Pinoy Fisheries Program and the Status of Aquaculture Engineering in the Philippines; the Laguna Lake Development Program on Aquaculture Engineering; Industry Perspectives on Fisheries Engineering and Aquaculture Engineering; Status of the Aquaculture Engineering R&D in the Philippines; Aquaculture Engineering Courses as per Commission on Higher Education Memorandum Order 37 of 2007; and the AFMechRDEN Agenda of AFMech Law, among others.

UPLB Chancellor Dr. Fernando Sanchez, Jr. encouraged everyone to work more closely to address the challenges faced by the agriculture and fisheries sector through research, development and extension and policy development especially in aquaculture.

He also emphasized the relevance of agricultural engineering, particularly aquaculture engineering as an industry and as a professional practice.

The consultative workshop was organized in line with the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997 and the Fisheries Code that supports aquaculture engineering as a vital component in the development and modernization of the fisheries sector and in the implementation of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Fisheries Program.

Through the activity, the organizers also aim to address the provisions of the Philippine Agricultural Engineering Act of 1998 wherein aquaculture engineering constitutes as one of the scope of practice of agricultural engineering.

Furthermore, the consultative workshop is in accordance with the Agricultural and Fishery Mechanization Law which mandates the UPLB-AMDP to lead and coordinate the agricultural and fishery mechanization RDE program of all academic institutions in the country. The law also tackles the development of training regulations on agri-fisheries mechanization which include aquaculture mechanization.

Under the law, the DA is also tasked to formulate a unified National Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization Research and Development and Extension Agenda in consultation with the members of the AFMechRDEN. 


NSC members join PCAF teams in project monitoring in Bicol

Driven by its commitment to foster greater participation of the private sector in agri-fishery development, the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) continues to make possible the involvement of the members of the National Sectoral Committees (NSCs) in the monitoring of local agri-fishery programs and projects.

NSC officers Raul Montemayor and Hazel Tanchuling visit the site of the Abuyog Small Water Impounding Project in Sorsogon City.

In line with this PCAF, representatives and NSC members jointly conducted monitoring activities in the Bicol region on August 24-30, 2015.

Held in cooperation with the Agricultural and Fishery Councils, Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Offices and local government units, the monitoring activities covered a total of 51 agricultural and fishery programs and projects in Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay and Sorsogon, most of which are programs and projects funded under the Bottom-Up Budgeting program of the government in 2014 and 2015.

PCAF-CFA Chairperson Arsenio Tanchuling visits a rain shelter project in Mercedes, Camarines Norte.
In a report submitted to PCAF for proper endorsement to the concerned agencies, NSC representatives tackled issues that affect the overall implementation of agri-fishery initiatives in the concerned sites and proposed measures to address them.

NSC members Dr. Ernesto Ordoñez, Aurora Regalado and Evangeline Palacio, together with a PCAF representative, conduct interviews about a crablet nursery project located in Calabanga, Camarines Sur.
Some of the issues are on the dissemination of information, delineation of roles and functions of concerned parties, availability of funds, proper documentation, site selection, market access and compliance to standards, among others.

The joint PCAF and NSC monitoring teams also reported on their findings on the funding, completion and management of programs and projects related to various agri-fishery industries such as farm-to-market roads, flatbed dryers, diversion dams, irrigation facilities, small water impounding projects, fishery facilities, trading centers, food terminals, rice processing centers, rain shelters, seed banks, farm machinery and organic farming.

Towards food sufficiency

PCAF Committee on Livestock, Poultry and Feed Crops Chairperson Rufina Salas and PCAF-CFA member Marita Rodriguez during their field monitoring in Albay.
NSC representatives who took part in the said undertaking are PCAF Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (CFA) Chairperson Arsenio Tanchuling, PCAF-CFA members Evangeline Palacio and Marita Rodriguez, PCAF Committee on Food Staples (CFS) and Committee on International Trade Chairperson Raul Montemayor, CFS members Aurora Regalado, PCAF Committee on Livestock, Poultry and Feed Crops Chairperson Rufina Salas, PCAF Committee on Climate Change (CCC) Vice Chairperson Hazel Tanchuling and PCAF-CCC member Ernesto Ordoñez.

The NSCs are private sector-led consultative bodies which provide venue for government agencies, civil society organizations and other groups to discuss sector- or industry-specific issues and concerns.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Japan’s 2KR-assisted AKBay Program Phase II renews hope in Guiuan


A total of 596 fishing households in Guiuan, Eastern Samar benefitted from the fishing boats and engines provided under the AKBay Program Phase II, while 424 other families were given farming inputs. (Photo courtesy of DA-RFO 8)
After almost two years since typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck, the Government of Japan continues to reach out to farming and fishing communities in Eastern Visayas through the Agrikultura: Kaagapay ng Bayang Pinoy Program for Typhoon Yolanda-affected Areas or AKBay Program Phase II.

On September 24, livelihood assistance under the AKBay Program Phase II was given to a total of 1,020 farming and fishing households in Guiuan in a ceremonial handover held at the town plaza.

Guiuan, a first class municipality in Eastern Samar with more than 47,000 people, was where Yolanda first made landfall, destroying over 10,000 homes as well as the locals’ major sources of livelihood: fishing and coconut farming.

Through the AKBay Program Phase II, the Government of Japan aims to assist Guiuananons restore their livelihood after the calamity.

Implemented under the 2KR Program, the AKBay Program Phase II aims to contribute to the recovery efforts of 8,500 displaced farming and fishing households in Biliran, Eastern Samar, Samar and Leyte. This is in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF).

Each aid package, worth P15,000, came in the form of farm inputs which include vegetable seeds, fertilizers and farm implements for farming families.

Fishing households, on the other hand, were given different packages such as one fiberglass boat (16 feet long x 16 inches deep x 16 inches wide), one diesel cool air 12hp motorboat engine, and municipal fishing paraphernalia, depending on their needs.

A fisherman starts over

Seventy-four-year-old Francisco Ablay of Barangay Camparang could not hide his excitement over the fishing boat provided to him.
Mang Francisco has been fishing for a living since he was in his teenage years. Until in November 2013, Yolanda robbed him of his lapu-lapu or grouper culture business including some cash and two fishing boats, forcing him to stop fishing for some time.

“I had lost all hope then. I used to earn up to P3,500 for my cultured lapu-lapu before Yolanda swept everything away. But I am thankful that I survived,” he recalled.

Mang Francisco has been living by himself for a few years now after his wife moved to Cavite to take care of their grandchildren. He recalled how he, on the day Yolanda struck, rushed to his nearby relative to save himself from the rising sea waters with nothing but the clothes on his back.

Through the assistance of different institutions, Mang Francisco’s life gradually returned to normalcy. However, because of the loss of his fishing equipment, Mang Francisco could only manage to earn P200 to P600 a week from fishing these days. 

According to Mang Francisco, the fishing boat from the AKBay Program Phase II will indeed help him re-establish his fishery enterprise.

“The assistance given to us by the Japanese Government is no joke. I know for a fact that the boats and engines cost thousands each,” he remarked.

Despite his deteriorating eyesight caused by cataracts, Mang Francisco is determined to get back in business and start culturing lapu-lapu again, “I am thankful to the Government of Japan for helping us here in Guiuan.”

Overflowing gratitude

Rose Mylene Lumagbas, together with her fellow farmers and fisherfolk in Barangay Trinidad, happily welcome their Japanese visitors.
Guiuananons holding ‘thank you’ signage greeted the Japanese officials and representatives from DA Regional Field Office 8, PCAF and the local government upon their arrival at the ceremony.

Among them was the group of Rose Mylene Lumagbas, 28, from Barangay Trinidad. A mother of four, Lumagbas eagerly waited for the boat provided through the AKBay Program Phase II.

“Fishing is our family’s only source of income and it’s the only work we can do since my husband and I were only able to finish high school,” Lumagbas said.

She added that the aid package will help them provide for the needs of their children, “All we ever want is for them to finish college and have a comfortable life.”

Together with her neighbors, Lumagbas travelled for around 30 minutes from the island of Tubabao to attend the ceremonial handover which coincided with the town’s 1st Fishers’ and Farmers’ Day.

PCAF Exec. Dir. Ariel Cayanan pays tribute to the resiliency and speedy recovery of the people of Guiuan after typhoon Yolanda’s onslaught.
Officials who graced the ceremony were First Secretary, Agriculture of the Embassy of Japan Kenji Terada, JICA Representative Yuko Tanaka, DA resident JICA Expert Takashi Fujimori, JICA Philippines Poverty Reduction Section Program Officer Sherilyn Aoyama, PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan, RAFC 8 Chairperson Edgardo Codilla, Guiuan Councilor Cornelio Sison and other Sangguiang Bayan officials, and Eastern Samar PAFC Chairperson Inocencio Morallos.

In his speech, PCAF Exec. Dir. Cayanan lauded the Guiuananons for their resiliency and hoped that the support provided to them through the AKBay Program Phase II will motivate them to carry on the ‘bayanihan’ spirit in their respective communities.

First Secretary, Agriculture Kenji Terada of the Embassy of Japan reaffirms Japan’s commitment to support the realization of the vision for Yolanda-affected areas in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, First Secretary, Agriculture Terada encouraged the beneficiaries in Guiuan to make optimum use of the materials that they received under the AKBay Program Phase II. He also extended his sympathies to the Yolanda-hit locals, saying that the people of Japan are no strangers to calamities either, citing the Great East Japan Earthquake in particular.

“We hope to empower the affected communities for the restoration of the basics of livelihood. I believe our combined efforts will give the beneficiaries renewed hope and determination to overcome their difficulties,” he said.

Prior to the ceremonial handover in Guiuan, distribution activities for over 5,500 farming and fishing households were held in various areas in Biliran, Eastern Samar, Samar and Leyte starting April this year. Capability-building training activities on vegetable production in concerned municipalities have also been undertaken since late last year.

The ceremonial handover for the remaining 1,977 fishing households in the provinces of Biliran and Leyte will be held in the coming months.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sen. Villar voices support for AFCs at Luzon-wide congress

Sen. Villar keynotes the Luzon-wide AFC Congress held at the One Vittoria Hotel, Bantay, Ilocos Sur. 
(Photo courtesy of DA-RFO 1)
Senator Cynthia Villar expressed strong support to the cause of the Agricultural and Fishery Councils (AFCs) as AFC members from Luzon convened on September 16 and 17, 2015 to tackle possible solutions for some of the pressing concerns that affect the agriculture and fisheries sector.


Sen. Villar, currently the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, reiterated that the farmers, fisherfolk and other stakeholders have her full support in dealing with the changes and challenges confronting them and the industry.

With the theme “AFCs: Sumasabay sa Hamon ng Makabagong Panahon”, the Luzon-wide AFC Congress commemorated the efforts of the AFCs to cope with the dynamic and evolving sectors of agriculture and fisheries through the years.

Held in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office of Region 1 (DA-RFO1) and the Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council headed by Chairperson Vincent Adorna, the congress also highlighted the AFCs’ contributions as DA’s integral partners in the development of sound and responsive agri-fishery policies and in ensuring the effective implementation of local programs and projects.

In her keynote speech, Sen. Villar encouraged AFC leaders to continue to be resilient and steadfast in their commitment to the development of the agriculture and fisheries sector in the country despite the challenges they face.
She also briefly discussed some priority legislation related to the sector which she passed and co-sponsored, namely, the Sugar Industry Development Act, Amended Fisheries Code, Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, Farm Tourism Bill, Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2015, among others.

Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) Executive Director Ariel Cayanan also graced the event and underscored the contributions of the AFCs in policy-making for agriculture and fisheries in the countryside which include Sustainable Corn Production in Sloping Areas and implementation of stricter regulations for meat importation, among others.

He also assured the AFC members that PCAF will continue strengthening its support mechanisms including the provision of quality, timely and cost-effective capability development activities and of technical leadership and guidance and administrative support to ensure the conduct of the AFCs’ regular meetings and activities.


PCAF Committee on Climate Change Vice Chairperson Hazel Tanchuling and DA-RFO 1 Regional Technical Director for Operations Dr. Paz Mones also talked about climate change and the Philippine Rural Development Project, respectively. Regional Fisheries Office Director Nestor Domenden also discussed the priority thrusts of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources for 2015-2016 and the agency’s existing interventions.

Sloping Areas and implementation of stricter regulations for meat importation, among others.

He also assured the AFC members that PCAF will continue strengthening its support mechanisms including the provision of quality, timely and cost-effective capability development activities and of technical leadership and guidance and administrative support to ensure the conduct of the AFCs’ regular meetings and activities.

PCAF Committee on Climate Change Vice Chairperson Hazel Tanchuling and DA-RFO 1 Regional Technical Director for Operations Dr. Paz Mones also talked about climate change and the Philippine Rural Development Project, respectively. Regional Fisheries Office Director Nestor Domenden also discussed the priority thrusts of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources for 2015-2016 and the agency’s existing interventions.

Members of the AFCs from the Cordillera Administrative Region and Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B and 5, together with representatives from DA-RFO 1 and PCAF’s Partnership Development Division, convene at the Luzon-wide AFC Congress. (Photo courtesy of DA-RFO 1)

By the end of the congress, AFC chairpersons from the participating regions endorsed resolutions to address issues in their respective localities.

Among the issues tackled are on the practice of vermi composting and implementation of Solid Waste Management Program in Region 1, allowing Ivatan fishers to use small commercial fishing vessel to fish within the 2-kilometer radius in Batanes and provision of green super rice in Region 3 for farmers to be able to adapt to the effects of climate change.

RAFC 4A called for the creation of a Climate Change Committee in all levels of AFCs in the region while Occidental Mindoro PAFC requested for the extension of the country’s quantitative restriction on rice. Likewise, the Sorsogon PAFC urged the DA to strengthen bottom-up budgeting process through the AFCs.

A resolution requesting for the total ban on the usage and sale of chemicals with glyphosate component was also endorsed, as well as the provision of fuel subsidy for standing crops that will be affected by El Niño. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

2015 Gawad Saka top 3 finalists picked


After a careful selection process, the 2015 Gawad Saka Search for Outstanding Agriculture and Fisheries Achievers now has its top three finalists as presented to the National Executive Committee (NEC) last September 17, 2015 at the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority Convention Hall, Visayas Ave., Quezon City. The top three finalists for the national level of the Search were selected for each of the 22 Gawad Saka categories following the field validation and evaluation conducted by the National Technical Committees (NTCs) which were created for each category. Divided accordingly into three groups for crops, institutions and research, and livestock and fisheries, the presentations were rendered by the NTCs during the breakout sessions. Each group was respectively moderated by Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority Dir. Clarito Barron, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Administrative Services Assistant Director Atty. Benjamin Tabios and Dir. Manuel Jarmin of the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF). The final presentation materials on the finalists will be submitted to the board of judges before their deliberation on October 5. PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan, who also serves as this year’s Gawad Saka NEC Chairperson, urged NTC members to continually draw inspiration from one another in ensuring the success of the Search this year and hoped that everyone’s efforts will help make Gawad Saka remain a relevant undertaking in the ever-changing agri-socioeconomic landscape. He also thanked everyone for the support being given to PCAF which serves as this year’s Gawad Saka National Secretariat.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

AKBay’s reach extends to more families in Baras, Catanduanes

At 55 years old, Roni Valenzuela of Barangay Quezon, Baras in Catanduanes is yet to retire from alternating between two jobs—one as a construction worker and another as farmhand—to make sure that their youngest child will finish college next year.
His wife Roliza, 52, helps him by selling the produce harvested from their 100-square-meter vegetable farm at their backyard. With her meager earnings, the family is able to pay for household bills.
Until, on March 24, 2015, Roni received a P10,000 loan from the local government for a swine-fattening business through the local replication of the Government of Japan’s Agrikultura: Kaagapay ng Bayang Pinoy (AKBay) Program.
Where it all started
AKBay is a targeted poverty-reduction program that helps its beneficiaries start sustainable agri-based livelihood projects.
Implemented by the Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with the then National Agricultural and Fishery Council and now the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries Council, it is funded under the Japan Grant Assistance for Food Security Project for Underprivileged Farmers (2KR).
The program is intended for the poorest households in farming and fishing communities in 31 priority provinces identified in the government’s Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Program. This is in support to the attainment of Millennium Development Goal 1, “Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.”
The Japan-assisted AKBay Program provides start-up funds worth up to P10,000 for each household-beneficiary. It is expected that the farm-household will be able to pay back the assistance fund starting from the second to the third year after the start of the project, at zero interest rate.
The funds recovered from the projects are pooled into a Roll-Over Fund or ROF which is used to assist other households from within the province where the original project fund was allocated.
Aside from financial assistance, AKBay also extends technical assistance in project identification, project proposal writing/development, and project implementation. It also assists in marketing the goods produced by each household under the program.
In 2011, 26 households in Baras became beneficiaries of the 2KR-assisted AKBay Program. It grew to 28 in 2012 under the second tranche and turned to benefit 101 more through the ROF.
Municipal AKBay Coordinator Pablo Tayangona noted the positive impact of the program in the fifth class municipality where agriculture is the main source of livelihood.
“AKBay helps augment the income of the families here in Baras. It is a huge opportunity for the beneficiaries to be able to stand on their own feet,” Tayangona shared.
He added that, in fact, the beneficiaries themselves go to his office to repay the financial assistance from AKBay and do not just wait for him to collect the money. Hence, in 2014, Baras recorded the highest replenishment among the eight municipalities helped by the AKBay Program in Catanduanes.
Baras Mayor Rodel Abichuela (in checkered polo) with the awardees of the second ROF of the 2KR-assisted AKBay Program in Catanduanes during the celebration of the Women’s Month in 2013.
In 2013, Baras Mayor Rodel Abichuela graced the awarding ceremony for the beneficiaries of the program’s second ROF. There, he saw the sustainability being provided by the program to his constituents
Determined to alleviate poverty in Baras, Mayor Abichuela decided to replicate AKBay locally and allocated P230,000 worth of funds under the local government unit’s (LGU) 2015 budget which benefited a total of 23 beneficiaries which include Roni.
Furthermore, the mayor had also pledged to shoulder the notarial fee of the acknowledgement receipts of the recipients to avoid additional expense on the part of the farmers.
With the help of Provincial AKBay coordinator Nelia Teves, the Municipal Agricultural Office made a few adjustments in the guidelines to adapt to the local conditions.
Municipal Agricultural Office OIC and Municipal AKBay Coordinator  Pablo Tayangona, Jr. (far left, in pink) together with Baras government officials, during the awarding ceremony of the locally funded AKBay Program.
 “For the locally funded AKBay Program, we decided that the beneficiaries should be enterprising poor — meaning families with monthly income of below P5,000 but have the capacity to manage agri projects. With this, we could expect that the beneficiaries would be able to pay back the financial assistance within a year at zero interest rate and with no collateral, as with Japan’s AKBay Program,” Tayangona explained.
According to Tayangona, most of the projects that the AKBay beneficiaries in Baras engage in are on swine-breeding and fattening, like the Valenzuelas.
“Using the financial assistance, beneficiaries can purchase two heads of swine at around P2,500 each and the rest of the money would usually go to the feeds. After four to six months, they would then be able to sell the pigs at around P110 per kilogram liveweight at the local market. At that time, a pig would usually have a liveweight of around 100 kilograms,” Tayangona said.
They could choose to sell both their pigs and buy one sow for breeding or they could also sell one and leave the other to be used as breeder — like what the Valenzuelas are planning to do.
Tayangona added that the beneficiaries are required to undergo orientation so that they would be able to manage their projects effectively.
With the implementation of both the Japanese Government’s and the Baras LGU’s AKBay programs, two to three families in all the 29 barangays in Baras are now engaged in agri-based enterprise.
Where dreams lead
Baras Municipal AKBay Coordinator speaks to beneficiaries of the locally funded AKBay Program.
Next year, the Baras municipal government hopes to benefit 100 more households under the locally funded AKBay Program.

Aside from livestock, Tayangona hopes that the beneficiaries could also engage in fishery projects.

"The risk is high especially as Baras is prone to natural calamities but we do hope to help fishing families here improve their lives as well,” Tayangona said.

To ensure the sustainability of the projects, Tayangona himself conducts regular monitoring at the field in spite of various challenges. Using what little income he has, Tayangona pays for his own fuel usage during these trips.

A father of three, 48-year-old Tayangona has been with the local government for 21 years. Aside from AKBay, Tayangona also coordinates activities under agricultural programs for 4H Club and rural women.

Being a farmer himself, he says that he is glad to see his fellowmen slowly rise from poverty through agricultural projects.

“I am happy that I get to be an agent of change. I don’t earn much from what I do but, for me, it is enough that I am able to help improve life in this town and be able to reach this ultimate dream,” Tayangona said.

He, together with the Valenzuelas, hopes that both the 2KR-assisted and the locally funded AKBay programs will be sustained for many more years and care for more poor families, as what the Filipino word ‘akbay’—which is literally having one’s arm over another’s shoulder—signifies.