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The regional chief of the Department of Agriculture (DA)- MIMAROPA is optimistic that they can attain significant gains in Palawan and in MIMAROPA region consistent with the vision of Secretary William Dar in pushing for major reforms in the country’s agriculture.
This is in line with the DA’s first administrative order issued this year which is geared towards achieving agri-industrialization and “new thinking in agriculture” in a bid to improve the country’s state of agriculture.
Secretary William Dar’s Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 2020 establishes the policy framework and strategies of the DA that includes medium and long-term programs of the agency.
DA Regional Executive Director Antonio Gerundio during his visit to Puerto Princesa City said that Secretary Dar’s vision is indeed a big challenge for them and he accepted such a challenge by working hard to accomplish it. For him, a significant accomplishment in agriculture will help uplift the lives of the farmers in Palawan and in the region.
“Base sa kanyang vision, food security, prosperous farmers, na yan ang tutuunan nya ng pansin. Gusto nya na dodoblehin ang income ng mga farmers. That is a tall order for us. Malaking challenge yan sa amin,” he said.
Director Gerundio reiterated his call to farmers in Palawan to organize themselves into a farmers’ association or cooperative to enable them to easily access the support services extended by DA to organized farmers group.
The local office of the DA here based in Palawan Agricultural Experimentation Station (PAES) in Brgy. Tiniguiban said that several organized farmers’ cooperatives received farm equipment such as tractors and harvesters to support the rice mechanization. They are also reaching out to farmers groups to avail the government’s lending program for the sector through various loan programs of their agency.
Gerundio further said that there are also ongoing farm-to-market road projects in Palawan particularly in Roxas and Puerto Princesa City which are considered as game changers and will help uplift the lives of the people and the communities in rural and upland areas. The ongoing Maruyugon-Lucbuan-Buenavista road funded by the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) is among the DA funded projects in the region.
Secretary Dar said in a statement that he directed all regional field offices, bureaus, attached agencies and corporations under the DA to adopt appropriate approaches and principles based on the new thinking for agriculture and its eight paradigms.
The eight paradigms are Modernization; Industrialization; Promotion of exports; Consolidation of small and medium-sized farms; Infrastructure development; Higher budget and investment for agriculture; Legislative support; and Roadmap development.
The DA further said that among their key priorities to effect drastic change and a major turnaround in the agriculture sector include the comprehensive audit of the list of farmer- and fisher-beneficiaries to ensure the sustainability and increase the beneficial impact of DA’s programs and projects. Another strategy is the development of a web-based information support system called the Agri-Information Support Portal.
This will provide more efficient sourcing of timely agri-fishery information and data to aid in better policy decision making. Their agency is also pushing for an agriculture PPP or public-private partnership support system to hasten investments in agri-modernization and industrialization, or simply the DA’s version of “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure and agribusiness ventures.
“We will continue to touch-base and strengthen our alliances with major agri-fishery stakeholders and partners via direct consultations, aware that their support and participation are vital and critical to the success of our programs,” Secretary Dar further said in a statement.