After 9 years as NOAB Secretariat, BAFS turned over to NOAP-NPCO

As the year 2021 starts, the Bureau embarks on a new task with the approval of the Republic Act No. 11511 or the Act Amending the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010. Taking effect on January 21, 2021, the RA 11511 transfers the function of technical and administrative support for the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB) from the BAFS to the National Program Coordinating Office of the National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP-NPCO).  In order to facilitate a smooth transition, a meeting between the BAFS and the NOAP-NPCO was held on January 11, 2021 to discuss the details on the NOAB Secretariat functions.

The BAFS, led by Director Myer G. Mula and Assistant Director Mary Grace R. Mandigma, presented to the NOAP-NPCO the mandates and functions of the NOAB Secretariat per RA 10068, the existing NOAB technical committees and its functions, accomplishments of the NOAB from FY 2012 to 2020, and the proposed priority agenda and calendar of activities for FY 2021. In addition, the two offices discussed some of the provisions of RA 11511 to provide clarification and come up with proposed provisions for its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) that is currently being drafted.

The transfer officially concluded during the Ceremonial Turnover held on January 15, 2021 at the Agricultural Training Institute – Rural Development Education Center (ATI-RDEC), Quezon City. The ceremonial turnover was graced by Undersecretary Zamzamin L. Ampatuan, Alternate Chairperson of the NOAB, together with the newly appointed non-government members of the NOAB for FY 2020-2023 – Dr. Victorio Fernando D. Nacpil, Small Farmer – Luzon Representative; Mr. Renato D. Dela Cruz, Small Farmer – Mindanao Representative; Mr. Roldan C. Paraguison, Non-Government Organization Representative; Mr. Henry James M. Sison, Agribusiness Firm Representative; and Dr. Adeflor G. Garcia, Academe Sector Representative.

In his speech during the ceremony, Director Mula described the Bureau’s decade of service to the National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP) as the technical and administrative secretariat to the NOAB. He gladly welcomed the new mandate provided by RA 11511 and expressed BAFS’ commitment to continue its service to the organic agriculture industry, by maintaining and upholding excellence and quality deserved by the stakeholders from the highest policy-making body, down to the grassroots (farmers and fishers) to be benefitted by the consumers.

In conclusion, Undersecretary Ampatuan commended the BAFS for a “job well done” in providing technical and administrative support to the NOAB. He expressed his support to the NOAP-NPCO in its new undertaking as the technical and administrative secretariat to the NOAB.

The BAFS sets forth the development of mechanisms that will ensure the effective implementation of certification and accreditation of Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) in the country.  ### (Gio Renzo M. Caballero and Geeza June V. Painaga / DA-BAFS Organic Agriculture Division)

RRP 2 set to roll out in Region 12

The Department of Agriculture 12 is now ready to roll out the Rice Resiliency Project (RRP) 2 under the Plant Plan Plant Program.

Regional Executive Director Arlan Mangelen confirmed that the agency is now conducting orientation to provincial, city and municipal agriculturists in the plotting of interventions per area under this program.

“We have already talked to the local agriculture officers to work with them in the implementation of the RRP 2,” the director noted.

Moreover, Director Mangelen said that during the 2020 wet season the DA implemented RRP 1 and it increased farmers’ productivity and ensured food security amid the COVID-19 pandemic through the provision of free seeds and fertilizer.

“This will be implemented to sustain the gains of RRP 1,” he added.

Unlike RRP 1, fertilizers under this project shall be provided to farmers in form of subsidy without the counterpart requirement.

The program will also recognize and provide incentives to local government units (LGU) that will exceed the production targets.

Recipients of seed support and those who purchased their own seeds shall also be entitled to avail for fertilizer subsidy. This scheme shall allow farmers to procure inorganic fertilizers at accredited fertilizer dealers, distributors and accredited farmers cooperatives and associations using a voucher with an amount equivalent to P2,000.00 per hectare for inbred rice and P3,000.00 for hybrid rice.

RRP 2 will be implemented with three subprojects which will dish out free seeds, like RRP 1. These are the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program, Expanded Inbred Rice Production and Expanded Hybrid Rice Production in Suitable Areas.

Meanwhile, Director Mangelen noted that because of the big help of RRP 1 in keeping food security amidst the global crisis last year, RRP 2 was initiated.

“I assure you, the DA will not allow the pandemic to hamper food production… that is why we are implementing this program,” he said,

Farmers are advised to visit their respective provincial, city and municipal agriculture office for further information of the program. # # # (Carl Ulysses Aguillon, RAFIS 12)

‘One-DA’ approach, Harmonization meeting held in Cebu’s 6th district

In response to the ‘One DA’ approach to agriculture transformation of Agriculture Secretary William Dar, the Department of Agriculture -Central Visayas (DA-7) conducted another round of DA-LGU Harmonization Meetings of agricultural initiatives in Cebu’s 6th Congressional District.

DA7  Regional Executive Director Salvador Diputado said that the harmonization meeting which the DA7 has been conducting since the 4th quarter of last year is already a response to the ‘ONE DA’ approach.

‘One DA’ is a holistic approach towards agriculture and fishery transformation with 12 key strategic directives for 2021.

Diputado said that the regional office has seen the need of a strengthened collaboration with the regional offices and LGUs inorder to effectively implement agricultural initiatives.

“We are here as a composite group composed of DA and its different attached agencies, so that whatever concerns of the respective parties will be addressed and resolved immediately. This is a concrete example of a one cluster approach as we converged as one,” Diputado said.

The Director also shared that Secretary Dar has assured the Province of Cebu of his support for the Sugbusog Program.

“The DA will support this project, as has the same purpose of Cebu’s Sugbusog program of  improving our food production. We need to expand our horizon when it comes to attaining food sufficiency,” he said.

Consolacion Mayor Joannes Alegado said that LGUs and DA have common goal which is food security. 

“This is a big challenge to our district on how to address food security as we are an urban area. We need a good agriculture projects,” Alegado said.

Director Diputado went on stressing the need for a strong cooperation of all LGUs especially with the recent African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in region 8.

The agriculture department is soliciting the full support of the LGUs and the public to be vigilant in protecting Central Visayas region against the entry of ASF.

“ASF is like COVID-19 as it has no vaccine and treatment. It is very contagious and will affect the entire swine industry once it will infect a single pig in our region,” Diputado said.

DIputado calls for the revitalization of the barangay agri technicians, the conduct of barangay level inspection, monitoring and geomapping of all backyard level swine raising, as part of the measures against the disease.  # # # (DA-RFO VII, RAFIS)