Tuesday, June 30, 2015

PCAF thanks partners in agri-fishery development on 2nd anniversary

With the theme “Panibagong Simula, Sanib Pwersa tungo sa Maunlad na Pagsasaka at Pangingisda,” the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) marked its second anniversary this June. PCAF Exec. Dir. Ariel Cayanan led the opening rites of the agency’s week-long celebration with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the PCAF exhibit at the Department of Agriculture (DA) lobby on June 29 (left photo). DA Undersecretary for Livestock Jose Reaño, DA Personnel Division Chief Marites Bernardo and PCAF National Sectoral Committee (NSC) on Poultry, Livestock and Feed Crops Chairperson Rufina Salas were also present at the ceremony. In his message during the flag-raising ceremony at the DA grounds, Exec. Dir. Cayanan thanked the agency’s partners from the DA, NSCs, Agricultural and Fishery Councils, and other government agencies for their support on PCAF’s efforts to champion the needs of Filipino farmers and fisherfolk. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala also graced the exhibit and joined Exec. Dir. Cayanan, Deputy Exec. Dir. Florabelle Uy-Yap and PCAF employees in a short tour and photo session (right photo). Also in line with the celebration, Exec. Dir. Cayanan talked about the agency’s mandates, functions, activities and advocacies on DA’s “Maunlad na Magsasaka” program on DZAS 702 on June 30. By virtue of Executive Order 366, PCAF was created on June 26, 2013 upon the consolidation of the National Agricultural and Fishery Council and Livestock Development Council. This year marks the agency’s maiden year of operations under its three core processes, namely, Agriculture and Fisheries Monitoring and Evaluation, Policy Development, and Partnership Development.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Stakeholders voice support for Sugarcane Industry Development Act

PCAF Exec. Dir. Ariel Cayanan, alongside SRA Board Member Atty. Jesus Barrera, welcomes the participants of the National Consultation on the draft IRR of the Sugarcane Industry Development Act of 2015.
Stakeholders from private sector institutions and partners from concerned civil society organizations voiced their support for the newly enacted Sugarcane Industry Development Act of 2015, or Republic Act No. 10659, and offered recommendations for the refinement of its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) during a national consultation held on June 8.

Organized by the Sugarcane Regulatory Administration (SRA) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF), the national consultation comes on the heels of the area-wide public consultations spearheaded by the SRA for industry stakeholders and government officials at the local levels.

“With this new law, the sugarcane industry is provided with the enabling environment to truly be strategically diversified. Through this Act, we can look forward to a more competitive sugarcane industry, well-utilized sugarcane resources, and improved income for farmers and farm workers,” PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan said in his message.

SRA officials, led by Board Member (Miller) Atty. Jesus Barrera, facilitated the review of the draft IRR at the consultation and welcomed the recommendations of the participants. 
Some of the recommendations include increasing block farm areas to 50 hectares to increase efficiency, providing farmers life insurance or other social protection schemes, collaborating with higher education institutions on farm management initiatives, and conducting training programs for block farm managers.

The participants also stressed that stakeholder representation should be ensured in the Sugarcane Industry Development Council which will serve as consultative body on the identification and prioritization of specific programs and projects.

Stakeholders and partners review the salient features of the Sugarcane Industry Development Act of 2015.
They also said that, aside from ensuring productivity and profitability, the Act should also be able to address poverty and welfare of farmers especially those with lands pawned and leased, help eradicate child labor, and include underprivileged students from families that are dependent on sugarcane farming.

The participants also suggested the popularization of the law as they believe that, through the Sugarcane Act, the Philippine sugarcane industry can not only increase productivity and efficiency but also make the industry socially and environmentally responsible. They said that this could be a big advantage for the country in today’s highly competitive regional market.

The Sugarcane Industry Development Act of 2015 is aimed at promoting the competitiveness of the sugarcane industry, maximizing the utilization of sugarcane resources, and improving the incomes of farmers and farm workers through improved productivity, product diversification, job generation, and increased efficiency of sugar mills.

Institutionalized in the Act are key programs such as Productivity Improvement Programs which comprise block farms, farm support and farm mechanization.

Through the Block Farm Program, the Sugarcane Act will provide assistance to small farmers with farm sizes of less than five hectares who make up about 80 percent of all sugarcane farmers in the country. 

Under this program, small farms, including farms of agrarian reform beneficiaries, will be consolidated as one larger farm with a minimum area of 30 hectares within a two-kilometer radius. This is to take advantage of the economies of scale in the production of sugarcane. 

The SRA, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Agrarian Reform, and other concerned government agencies will provide common service facilities, such as farm machineries, and implement grants or start-up funding for the needed production inputs, technology adoption, livelihood and skills training and other development activities for the block farm and its members.

For other farms that are not eligible for the Block Farm Program, the law provides for the Farm Support Program which includes, among others, the provision of socialized credit, farm management, technical assistance, and professional services.

Other key programs that will be implemented under the law are Infrastructure Support Programs, namely transport infrastructure, farm-to-mill roads, and irrigation; Research, Development and Extension which include breeding of high-yielding varieties, latest technologies and Good Agricultural Practices; and Human Resource Development Programs such as capacity-building of farmers and industry technical experts.

Starting 2016, the sugarcane industry will be annually provided with an initial aggregate amount of P2 billion which will be used on providing grants to block farms under the Block Farm Program (15%), socialized credit under the Farm Support and Farm Mechanization Programs (15%); research and development, capability-building and technology transfer activities (15%); scholarship grants (5%); and infrastructure support programs (50%).

PCAF conducts orientation for regional AFC personnel

The Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) conducted an orientation for the newly hired Job Order personnel assigned in the 16 Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council (AFC) offices. The undertaking aimed to give them a common understanding on their duties and responsibilities they are to perform. Topics discussed also included Targets, Reporting Forms and Deadline of Reports; Preparing for a Meeting; How to Monitor Local Issues Resolved/For Action; How to Prepare Resolutions; Financial Matters/Requirements for Claims; and AFC Monitoring Guidelines and Consolidation of Reports. PCAF Partnership Development Division Chief Elgie Namia spoke to the 29 personnel in attendance and stressed the importance of the role they play in ensuring the success of the goals of the AFCs towards agricultural development.

Reorganized Baras MAFC officers take oath

Led by PCAF Exec. Dir. Ariel Cayanan, together with Mayor Kathrine Robles, Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council (RAFC) 4A Chairperson James Argosino, PAFC Chairperson Wilfredo San Juan and the Sangguniang Bayan members, the newly elected officers of the Baras Municipal AFC (MAFC), headed by Chairperson Samuel Golla, took their oath last May 15 during the celebration of the Farmers’ Day and Convention in San Salvador, Baras, Rizal. In line with this, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between PCAF and the local government unit (LGU) of Baras defining the duties and commitments of concerned stakeholders was transmitted to the said LGU. The MOA seeks to institutionalize the Baras MAFC as a venue for consultation and continuing discussion among local stakeholders from agriculture and fisheries sector. In his message, Dir. Cayanan stressed that the PCAF, through the AFC, will always help the farmers in Baras in addressing the challenges they face in farming. In addition, he encouraged them to continuously support organic farming given its health benefits and market opportunities. Meanwhile, Mayor Robles emphasized the importance of proper consultation and planning prior to project implementation. She also assured the farmers that the LGU will provide them the necessary support for their continual development.

PCAF forms Senior Citizens' Committee

To ensure the entitlement of the agency’s elderly employees to the benefits and privileges granted by Republic Act No. 9994 (Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010), a Senior Citizens’ Committee has been created within the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF). Through Special Order No. 224, Series of 2014, PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan authorized the creation of the said committee for employees who are 60 years old and above. Policy Development and Coordination Division Chief Elmer Estiandan has been designated as the focal person to ensure the preparation of an annual work and financial plan and accomplishment report on the committee’s initiatives. The committee’s lineup of activities for 2015 includes livelihood and health programs, educational tours and trade fairs, awards and incentive programs, sports and recreational events, among others.

PCAF partners with DAP for AFMA Rapid Assessment

PCAF officers, members of the DAP project team and stakeholders from Region 7 pose for a group photo in the conclusion of the stakeholders’ consultation workshop for the AFMA Rapid Assessment project in Cebu.
To pave the way for a more effective implementation of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997 (AFMA), or Republic Act (RA) No. 8435, the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) has partnered with the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) for the conduct a rapid assessment of the implementation of the said law.

AFMA was signed into law in December 1997 to modernize Philippine agriculture and fisheries to make it more competitive in the global market. It focuses on five major concerns, namely, poverty alleviation and social equity, food security, global competitiveness, sustainable development, and income profitability especially for farmers and fisherfolk.

The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the law mandate the National Agriculture and Fisheries Council (NAF Council) to assist the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the broad-based monitoring and coordination of the agricultural and fisheries modernization process.

Headed by the Agriculture Secretary as Chairperson-Coordinator, the NAF Council is also tasked to serve as the integrative and consultative structure for inter-agency and inter-sectoral collaboration in the activities arising from RA 8435.

Through its secretariat, the then National Agricultural and Fishery Council (NAFC), the NAF Council has been monitoring the pre-implementation activities specified in the IRR in the absence of a sectoral plan that would serve as basis for progress and results monitoring of the law. Due to the government rationalization program, the secretariat function of NAFC has been transferred to PCAF.

In aid of the country’s agriculture and fisheries development, PCAF now aims to determine the status of the implementation of the AFMA through the rapid assessment and yield recommendations for its improvement.

This is also in line with the mandated independent review of the law every five years.

In its inception report for the project, DAP noted that there have been few assessments done to determine the gains and impact of the law since its enactment 18 years ago.

“By 2015, most of the targets in the IRR of AFMA will lapse. It is thus timely and important that an assessment of AFMA in the last five years be conducted to contribute to the possible revision and/or extension that may be done regarding the law,” the DAP project team said in the inception report.

Through the project, PCAF would be able to determine the status of AFMA implementation in terms of the level of contribution of the DA, other involved government departments and agencies, the private sector, local government units and other AFMA support programs implemented by other institutions.

The assessment would be made in terms of budget support and investments at the national and local governments from 2009 to 2013 and of investments from private, international programs, and other financing institutions from 2009 to 2013.

The project will focus on the plans and accomplishments of the five components of the AFMA, including its 13 chapters, which are production and marketing support services; human resource development; research, development and extension; rural non-farm employment; and, trade and fiscal incentives.

The DAP project team will also identify existing implementation strengths, opportunities, problems, and challenges and propose adjustments for a more effective implementation and monitoring of the AFMA.

“The results of the assessment may serve as baseline information that can be used by PCAF in their continuous function of monitoring and evaluating programs and projects related to AFMA implementation and subsequently, determining the status of the Philippine agriculture sector,” the DAP project team furthered in the report.

According to the report, the “AFMA Rapid Assessment Report” could provide inputs in the crafting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Sectoral Plan as the findings and information gathered in the study could satisfy the need to establish baseline data for each relevant chapter or component of the AFMA.

In line with the project, a series of area-wide stakeholders’ consultation workshops was held for selected officers and personnel from regional DA offices, local government units and other concerned agencies; provincial, municipal agricultural officers; private sector representatives; members of civil society organizations; and, farmers and fisherfolk in Regions 3, 7 and 11 in April and May.

Through the consultation, the DAP project team was able to validate the secondary data they have gathered, determine the perception of the selected stakeholders on the implementation of AFMA-related programs and projects, and generate possible recommendations on identified issues and concerns related to development, implementation and monitoring of AFMA-related programs and projects.

Prior to this, focus group discussions were conducted with concerned national government agencies to gather data regarding the implementation of AFMA. The project team is expected to complete the first draft of the report in July.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Dir. Cayanan joins gov’t panel at ‘Fish Talk’, stresses support for establishment of fisherfolk settlement

DA-BFAR Dir. Asis Perez leads the forum for fisherfolk, dubbed as “Fish Talk”, on May 29.
(Photo by DA-BFAR Central Office)

Around 500 fisherfolk from different organizations and provinces in Luzon convened at a forum organized by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR), as part of the culmination of the Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s Month, May 29 at the Philippine Coconut Authority Covered Court in Diliman, Quezon City.

Dubbed as “Fish Talk”, the event served as an opportunity to address issues affecting the fisheries sector and further strengthen the partnership between the fishery stakeholders and the government.

The discussion focused on the welfare of Filipino fisherfolk, particularly on issues regarding fisherfolk settlement areas, Republic Act (RA) 8550 as amended by RA 10654 on municipal water delineation, and the existence of Danish Seine fishing despite the issuance of Fisheries Administrative Order No. 246 in 2013 banning the operation of Danish Seine and Modified Danish Seine in Philippine waters.

The NAPC has been consistently advocating for the establishment of fisherfolk settlement through the issuance of guidelines as mandated by Section 108 of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, as amended by RA10654.

In a resolution adopted on May 28, the NAPC Artisanal Fisherfolk Sectoral Council (AFSC) urged the DA-BFAR, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and NAPC for the immediate issuance of the said implementing guidelines.

“The fisherfolk are the most vulnerable in times of disasters and calamities as observed when millions of fisherfolk were greatly affected by super typhoon Yolanda in November 2013,” members of the NAPC AFSC said in the resolution.

Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) Executive Director Ariel Cayanan stressed that the agency, through the National Sectoral Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (PCAF-CFA), strongly supports the implementation of the provision of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 on the establishment of settlement areas for fisherfolk.

In his message, Dir. Cayanan shared PCAF-CFA’s Resolution No. 4, Series of 2015 recommending the conduct of a fisherfolk settlement policy forum. He also said that this issue can be a part of the agenda of the National Agriculture and Fisheries Council.

Also on May 28, PCAF-CFA passed a resolution supporting this effort. Dialogues have also been held with the DA and NAPC on the matter.

Other officials present at the forum were NAPC Sec. Jose Eliseo Rocamora, BFAR National Director Asis Perez, DILG Undersecretary Austere Panadero, and NAPC sector representative Ruperto Aleroza among others.

To cap off the activity, a boodle fight was held for the fisherfolk and government officials present. (With report from DA-BFAR Central Office)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Stakeholders support proposed 2016 DA budget, laud gov’t for project implementation

Representatives from different concerned government agencies and private institutions convene to discuss DA’s proposed budget for next year that is aimed towards a more competitive and sustainable agriculture and fisheries sector.
Members of the National Agriculture and Fisheries (NAF) Council unanimously approved to endorse the proposed P81.3 billion budget for Department of Agriculture’s (DA) ongoing programs and projects (Tier 1) for fiscal year 2016.

Composed of representatives from different government agencies, civil society organizations, non-government organizations and farmers’ groups, the NAF Council, chaired by DA Secretary Proceso Alcala, convened last May 25 at the Pearl Hall, SEAMEO Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology, Diliman, Quezon City.

The NAF Council is the apex mechanism for consultation and dialogue between and among government agencies, local government units and the private sector. The Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries serves as the council’s secretariat.

During the meeting, private sector stakeholders noted how the country attained the fastest rice production growth rate among other rice producing countries in the ASEAN region and lauded the DA for their efforts to make this possible. They also commended Sec. Alcala for the successful implementation of the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).

“The department has achieved more because of the efforts of our farmers as well as the participation of our private sector stakeholders,” Sec. Alcala stressed.

Aside from the interventions the DA has crafted, the NAF Council also recommended the increase of the High Value Crops Development Program budget, for the decreased farmers and fisherfolk poverty rate be considered as a target indicator in the DA’s thrusts and priorities, ensure the availability of agri-fishery technicians at the municipal levels, ascertain the preciseness of the farmer and fisherfolk registry system, among others.

The stakeholders also urged the DA to focus on promoting climate change adaptation and resiliency among farmers and fisherfolk for them to be able to increase their productivity amid erratic climate conditions.

Subsequent to the NAF Council meeting were simultaneous consultations with each of the PCAF sectoral committees last May 29 to validate and thresh out priority new or expanded programs and projects for the Tier 2 budget.

DA’s 2016 commitments

The proposed 2016 DA budget is 56.26% higher compared with last year’s approved budget under the General Appropriations Act.

With this, the department hopes to attain agri-fishery gross value added growth of 3.5-4.5%, increase agricultural exports by 9.5-10.5% and improve labor productivity by 2-5%.

Private sector stakeholders lauded the DA for its achievements in the previous year.
To achieve its commitments for next year, the DA has proposed P586 million for agricultural and fishery policy services and P25.7 billion for technical and support services which include production support services, market development services and extension support, education and training services, and research and development.

Under the budget proposal, funds for irrigation network services is P2.7 billion; farm-to-market road network services, P15.6 billion; agricultural equipment and facilities, 8.6 billion; agriculture and fishery regulation services, P3.6 billion; and, credit support services, P4.1 billion.                                                                                                                                        

For the implementation of its major programs and projects, the department is proposing a total budget of P11.3 billion for rice, P3.3 billion for livestock and poultry, P2.88 billion for corn, P2.88 billion for high value crops, P8.8 billion for fisheries, P8.9 billion for farm-to-market roads, P635 million for organic agriculture and P9 billion for the PRDP.

DA, partners discuss Phl Partnership on Sustainable Agriculture

Grow Asia Partnership Special Advisor Kavita Prakash-Mani shares their aim of reaching 
10 million smallholder farmers and improve their farm productivity, profitability 
and environmental sustainability.
In preparation for the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia in May, the Department of Agriculture (DA), in partnership with the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF), conducted the Orientation on the Grow Asia Initiative of the WEF last April 13 at the ATI-Rural Development and Education Center, Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City.

PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan welcomed around 160 participants from Regional Agricultural and Fishery Councils (RAFCs), PCAF National Sectoral Committees (NSCs) and other government and private sector stakeholders.

“The PCAF’s private-led network of consultative bodies, comprised of the NSCs and AFCs, could play a significant part in this initiative. Today’s gathering will indeed help create mutual understanding among our NSC and AFC partners as well as the DA family on the nature of this undertaking,” Exec. Dir. Cayanan stressed as he delivered his welcome message.

DA Secretary Proceso Alcala also called on the participants to focus on activities that the government and the private sector can work on together. “We have a long list of things to do. We all know that by focusing on certain activities under Grow Asia, this can be a venue for innovation,” he said.

Grow Asia Partnership-WEF Special Advisor Kavita Prakash-Mani presented the Grow Asia and Partnership Approach for Multi-stakeholder Collaboration. She spoke of Grow Asia’s aim to reach 10 million smallholders and improve their farm productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability by 20% by 2020.

She also shared their projects in Vietnam and In Indonesia which aims to engage 20, 000 Vietnamese coffee farmers within five years and train five million Indonesian corn farmers by 2020, respectively.

During the forum, some participants from the private sector asked what the Grow Asia expects from them in creating initiatives toward food security and environmental sustainability as well as in improving farmers’ livelihood.

“We’re not expecting anything from any of you. We are here to support you in your journey of transforming agriculture,” the special advisor answered.

On the other hand, Sec. Alcala recommended that they organize a national secretariat to enhance the engagement of both public and private sector in the Grow Asia initiative. “We are offering a space in the DA to serve as an office for the national secretariat,” he added.

Grow Asia Special Advisor Prakash-Mani thanked Sec. Alcala for his support and looked forward to everyone’s participation in the Grow Asia’s initiatives.

She then shared that they are looking at financing and providing appropriate farmers’ training and infrastructure to address their needs.

Furthermore, she suggested forming working groups on corn, coconut, coffee and cassava. “In addition to focusing on specific crop value chains, the partnership could also consider a geographical focus which would include multiple crops and enable the local development of infrastructure, supply chain, finances and farmer capacity in line with the Philippine Rural Development Plan which also has a geographic focus,” she added.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary Emerson Palad underscored that the Department is ready to shoulder the expenses of the national secretariat for the Grow Asia Initiative. He also enjoined the private sector to lead the initiative.

“We hope to create the national secretariat by the end of this month,” he said.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

PCAF partners with PCIC for NSCs’, AFCs’ insurance protection

PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan (seated, second from right) and PCIC President Jovy Bernabe (seated, center) ink a Memorandum of Agreement on the insurance protection for the NSCs and AFCs under the PCIC Accident and Dismemberment Security Scheme as PCAF and PCIC officials look on.
In recognition of the invaluable service and contribution of the National Sectoral Committees (NSCs) and the Agricultural and Fishery Councils (AFCs), the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) carries on the previous insurance protection initiative for them by entering into a renewed agreement with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).

On May 28, 2015, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between PCAF and the PCIC for a year-long insurance program for the NSCs and the AFCs through the latter’s Accident and Dismemberment Security Scheme (ADSS).

The insurance protection is for the chairpersons, sectoral chairpersons coordinators, and executive officers of the regional AFCs; chairpersons, sectoral chairpersons, and coordinators of the provincial AFCs; chairpersons and coordinators of the 429 PCAF-supported municipal AFCs; and, chairpersons of the NSCs, subcommittees and technical working committees.

The scheme covers the death, dismemberment or disablement due to accident of the beneficiaries aged up to 80 years old.

“It would really help a lot because these NSC and AFC members are volunteers of the Department of Agriculture and PCAF. This is an incentive for them that they are helping PCAF achieve their goals and the PCIC is glad to be a partner in this undertaking,” PCIC President Jovy Bernabe said after signing the MOA with PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan.

Other PCAF officials present in the event were PCAF Deputy Executive Director Florabelle Uy-Yap; PCAF Partnership Development Division (PDD) Chief Elgie Namia; Administrative, Financial and Management Division (AFMD) Chief Alexander Daroya; PDD Volunteer Management Section (VMS) Chief Conchita del Rosario; VMS officers Marilyn Gonzales and Michael Rey Lazaro; and AFMD Budget Section Chief Jose Redentor Besenio.

“The intrinsic value of the insurance coverage is too small compared with the voluntary service rendered by our NSC and AFC partners for PCAF and for the agriculture and fisheries sector as a whole. We hope that the insurance coverage would be like a seed that will grow as we especially look forward to expanding it in the future,” Exec. Dir. Cayanan.

Aside from the said insurance program, the PCAF also has efforts to support the telecommunications needs of the members of these consultative bodies as well as an awards and recognition program slated later this year.

A faith no storm can break

Farming household beneficiaries in Samar thank the people of Japan for the assistance they received that will help them re-establish their livelihood.
Agriculture and fisheries have been their major source of livelihood. After typhoon Yolanda’s onslaught, the people of Samar were left with almost nothing. But their resiliency and faith enabled them to weather the storm that destroyed their livelihood and properties.

Farming household beneficiaries in Samar thank the people of Japan for the assistance they received that will help them re-establish their livelihood.

“With your innate resilience and strong faith, you were able to weather the storm and overcome such misfortune. I salute all of you for your strong and optimistic spirit,” said Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) Executive Director Ariel Cayanan as he recalled the disaster in Region VIII in November 2013.

“The recovery and rehabilitation of the devastated families here in the region was also made possible through the efforts and support of different institutions from the private and public sectors. Now, the Government of Japan furthers these initiatives through the AKBay Program Phase II,” added Dir. Cayanan as he spoke to around a thousand farming households in the towns of Sta. Rita and Basey in Samar during the Ceremonial Handover of Livelihood Projects to Yolanda survivors last April 27

The AKBay Program Phase II, an initiative for the typhoon Yolanda-affected areas, is funded under the Japanese Grant Assistance for the Food Security Project for Underprivileged Farmers, or 2KR Program.

Meanwhile, Japan First Secretary of Agriculture Kenji Terada shared his hope that the farmer beneficiaries will contribute to the Department of Agriculture through providing sufficient food to the Filipino people.

On the other hand, Japan International Cooperation Agency Chief Representative Noriaki Niwa explained that the AKBay Phase II Program aims to revive the livelihood in typhoon-affected areas by providing income-generating opportunities such as farm inputs and fishing boats to 8, 500 farming and fishing households.

Towards food sufficiency
PCAF Exec. Dir. Ariel Cayanan, DA-Region VIII Technical Dir. Wilson Cerbito, Samar Provincial Administrator Romeo Reales, AKBay Provincial Coordinator John Meniano and Basey MAFC Chairperson Pio Bacayo talk to farmer-beneficiaries who are eager to receive farming inputs.

“Let us not be dependent on the government. I believe that we all have our own potentials that can help our country,” Samar Provincial Administrator Romeo Reales reminded the beneficiaries of the AKBay Program.

“We did not expect to receive this much.” Rosmelita Mendez, one of the farmer-beneficiaries, emotionally shared.

“Let us enrich what we have by attending more trainings such as the Farmers’ Field School. I am a woman and I have been actively doing my part in improving the quality of our life. I share with my husband what I learn in the trainings that I attended,” she added as she encouraged women to do their part in nation-building.

“We couldn’t thank the government of Japan enough. We were given a complete package worth P15,000 of livelihood inputs – from trainings to seeds, fertilizers and farm tools such as bolo, itak, shovel, hoe, rake, water sprinkler, knapsack sprayer and a 200-liter drum ,” Arsenio Nieva, another farmer-beneficiary said in their local language.

“We promise to use these tools in tilling our lands to help improve the economy of our community,” he added.

Farming and fishing household beneficiaries in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, where typhoon Yolanda made its first landfall, will also receive livelihood projects in May.

PCAF launches area-wide facilitation skills trainings for AFC coordinators

In its pursuit to enhance the competencies of the secretariat and the overall operations of the Agricultural and Fishery Councils (AFCs), the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) held a series of area-wide Facilitation Skills Training for AFC Coordinators starting this March.

The first batch that received training last March 16-18 in Pampanga was composed of 24 AFC Coordinators from the regional and provincial levels and staff from some RAFC Offices from Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B and the Cordilleras.

It is also seen to help strengthen the capacity of AFC coordinators as technical support in generating sound policy recommendations and in mobilizing the AFCs to be advocates of agri-fishery programs. In her opening speech, PCAF Deputy Executive Director Florabelle Uy-Yap hoped that the training will translate into more relevant policy recommendations from the AFCs that will make a difference in the lives of farmers and fisherfolk.

“I know that your participation in this training is not really for personal reasons. I know that you are not training for yourselves and that your intention comes from an altruistic objective which is to better serve our stakeholders,” she said.

The course included sessions on Perception and Personalities, Being a Person of Influence, Stages of Team Development, Key Competencies of a Team, Skills of a Good Facilitator, Enhancing Communication Skills, and Preparing, Planning and Designing a Meeting.

Having seen some of the participants’ workshop outputs which include sample minutes of the meeting, PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan congratulated the participants and urged them to strengthen their partnerships with their Chairpersons in achieving their common goals.

In her opening speech, PCAF Deputy Executive Director Florabelle Uy-Yap hoped that the training will translate into more relevant policy recommendations from the AFCs that will make a difference in the lives of farmers and fisherfolk.

“I know that your participation in this training is not really for personal reasons. I know that you are not training for yourselves and that your intention comes from an altruistic objective which is to better serve our stakeholders,” she said.

The course included sessions on Perception and Personalities, Being a Person of Influence, Stages of Team Development, Key Competencies of a Team, Skills of a Good Facilitator, Enhancing Communication Skills, and Preparing, Planning and Designing a Meeting.

Having seen some of the participants’ workshop outputs which include sample minutes of the meeting, PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan congratulated the participants and urged them to strengthen their partnerships with their Chairpersons in achieving their common goals.

" This has been a very good takeoff point for a successful journey. You are on the right track, so do not lose on that focus no matter what. This is only the beginning, the next step is to impart your learning and, ultimately, our goal is to produce results for our stakeholders,” he said.

“Ilocos Norte PAFC Coordinator Dante Madalipay thanked the PCAF and LeadCore for providing them a venue to enhance their competencies.

"This has given us the opportunity to empower our PAFC Chairpersons as well as the MAFC Chairpersons to become more active. I look forward to being able to impart to them what I have learned here,” he said.

RAFC Coordinator William Valdez of the host region, Region 3, also looked forward to applying the knowledge he gained from the training and sharing this knowledge with the members of their council.

He also underscored the role and responsibility of coordinators as facilitators in ensuring that the government’s objectives for the agriculture and fishery sector are met. He also called on his fellow coordinators to explore avenues that could help in giving incentives to the AFCs especially those recognized in the Gawad Saka Search.

The training for the second and third batches were held in Lipa City, Batangas and Iloilo City, Iloilo in the weeks that followed for participants from Luzon B (Regions 4A, 4B, and 5) and Visayas (Region 6, 7 and 8, including Caraga), respectively. The last leg of the training will be held in Davao City in April for participants from Mindanao (Regions 9, 10, 11, and ARMM).

Demystifying KM for agri-fishery sector

To reach a common appreciation and understanding of knowledge management (KM) as it applies to the agriculture and fisheries sector, 22 information officers and communication staff from attached agencies and bureaus and regional field offices of the Department of Agriculture (DA) participated in the back-to-back trainings on “Demystifying KM” and “Knowledge Sharing for your Work: Techniques and Tools for Project KM” on April 13-17, 2015 in Los Baños, Laguna. The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) conducted the two trainings under a project funded by the DA Bureau of Agricultural Research titled “Capacity Development on Knowledge Management-Phase II”. Among the DA attached agencies represented in the trainings is the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries. KM Capacity Development Expert Dr. Alexander Flor delivered most of the lectures and facilitated the workshops. KM, by Microsoft’s definition, is a newly emerging management discipline that treats intellectual capital as an asset. Its goal is to share and reuse knowledge. Knowledge, Dr. Flor said, is best shared through networks and that digital platforms are essential to KM. (Photo credit: SEARCA).

PCAF extends gratitude to EOJ First Secretary, Agriculture Aoki

After a successful three-year partnership in coordinating and managing projects under the Japan 2KR Grant, officials of the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) bid farewell to outgoing Embassy of Japan (EOJ) First Secretary, Agriculture Ryutaro Aoki at a meeting last March 19 at the La Breza Hotel, Quezon City. PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan expressed his gratitude and well-wishes to Secretary Aoki as he handed him a token of appreciation. During Secretary Aoki’s stint, the Agrikultura: Kaagapay ng Bayang Pinoy (AKBay) Program for Typhoon Yolanda-affected Areas (Phase II), with funding worth P140 million, was approved. Eastern Visayas Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council (RAFC) Chairperson Edgardo Codilla was also present at the meeting to extend his appreciation for the assistance of the outgoing Japanese Embassy official. Meanwhile, former Secretary Aoki formally introduced his successor, First Secretary, Agriculture Kenji Terada to Exec. Dir. Cayanan, Chairperson Codilla and representatives from the PCAF’s Partnership Development Division (PDD). Chairperson Codilla also invited the new secretary to the distribution of inputs and farming materials for the beneficiaries of the AKBay Program for Typhoon Yolanda-affected Areas in Biliran, Leyte and Eastern and Western Samar in April this year. Shown in photo from left are: PDD Volunteer Management Section Chief Conchita del Rosario, PDD Social Mobilization Section Chief Floreliz Avellana, Exec. Dir. Cayanan, Secretary Terada, Chairperson Codilla, former Secretary Aoki, PDD Assistant Chief Solidad Bernardo, and PDD Chief Elgie Namia.