William Dollente Dar, Ph.D.

It was auspicious that two and a half years ago, in December 2016, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte honored Dar and two others as The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) awardees for 2016, for their “exemplary achievements and selfless dedication to their profession or vocation that resulted not only to the advancement of their respective fields of endeavor, but also made significant contributions to the betterment of our countrymen and to our country at large.”

This time, Dar will continue to serve the Philippines again as Acting Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

He was named by then President Joseph Estrada as DA acting secretary, from July 1998 to May 1999. Under his short 11-month watch, he started implementing the provisions of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA), and despite an unfortunate El Niño episode, the agriculture sector registered an unprecedented growth of 9.6% in 1999.

To date, he is the only Filipino who led a global agricultural research institute — the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), in India, serving for an unprecedented three five-year terms, from 2000 to 2014. He left a legacy benefitting millions of farmers in India, Africa, and other dryland countries, including the Philippines.

Son of poor farmers from Danuman West, Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur, Dar has quadrupled the income and investments poured into ICRISAT, from US$ 21 million in 2000 to US$ 85 million in 2014. The fund went to further developing modern and sustainable crop cultivars/hybrids and technologies of its five major commodities (sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeonpea, and peanut) that are planted by tens of millions of small farmers worldwide.

ICRISAT is one the 15 research institutes under the CGIAR (Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research), a global partnership dedicated to reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving human health and nutrition, and ensuring sustainable management of natural resources. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Banos, Laguna, is also a member of CGIAR.

During his term, ICRISAT has partnered with the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Agricultural Research, sharing modern sustainable farming technologies and cultivars of sweet sorghum, peanut, chickpea (garbanzos) and pigeonpea (kadyos) thousands of farmers in rainfed areas of Cagayan Valley, Ilocos, Southern Luzon, and Southern Mindanao regions.

He is currently the President of InangLupa Movement Inc., (InangLupa), a movement working for an inclusive, science-based, climate-smart and competitive Philippine agriculture.

He is also the country representative of Prasad Seeds Philippines Inc.

His extensive research and professional experience were on crop management, farming systems development, and technology sharing and upscaling.

Before leaving for India, he also served as Presidential Advisor on Food Security (1999) and Executive Director, National Agricultural and Fishery Council (1998).

Humble beginnings

He started humbly as his farmer-parents were poor. His uncle Augustin Dollente sent him to college, studying BS in Agricultural Education in 1969 and MS in Agronomy in 1976, at the then Mountain State Agricultural College (MSAC), now known as Benguet State University (BSU), in La Trinidad, Benguet.

At BSU, he started as a researcher and instructor in 1979 and rose to become professor VI and vice president for R&D support services in 1985. In between those years, he pursued a PhD in horticulture at UP Los Baños, completing it in 1980.

When the DA was reorganized in 1987, then DA Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III appointed him the first director of the Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR).

He then served as executive director of then PCARRD, from 1994 to 1998. The agency is now called the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development, based in Los Baños, Laguna. He has received eight Doctorate degrees (Honoris Causa) in various fields by several state universities and colleges in (SUCs) in the Philippines

In 1988, he was among the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines, and received an “Outstanding Administrator Award” from the Department of Science and Technology.

In 2014, he received the “Outstanding MS Swaminathan Leadership Award” from India.

In December 5, 2014, he received a “Pamana ng Pilipino Award” from then President Benigno Aquino III, honoring outstanding overseas Filipino individuals and organizations.

Philippine Rural Development Project

The Philippine Rural Development Project is a six-year (6) project designed to establish the government platform for a modern, climate-smart and market-oriented agri-fishery sector. PRDP will partner with the LGUs and the private sector in providing key infrastructure, facilities, technology, and information that will raise incomes, productivity, and competitiveness in the countryside.

Development Objectives Within the six-year (6) project intervention, it is expected to provide the following outcomes:
  • At least five percent (5%) increase in annual real farm incomes of PRDP in household beneficiaries
  • 30% increase in income for targeted beneficiaries of enterprise development
  • Seven percent (7%) increase in value of annual marketed output
  • Twenty percent (20%) increase in number of farmers and fishers with improved access to DA services
Click here to visit PRDP Website

Special Area for Agricultural Development

The Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program is a locally-funded program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) which aims to help alleviate poverty among the marginalized sectors of agriculture and fishery of the thirty (30) priority provinces identified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) as well as areas covered by Executive Order No. 70, series of 2018.

The strategy of the program is to increase food production and the establishment of community enterprises by providing the appropriate technology, financing, marketing, and other support services for animals, crops, and fisheries to individuals, families/households and organized farmers and fisherfolks including among others DSWDs 4Ps and Indigenous Peoples (IPs).

Click here to visit SAAD Website

Second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management (CHARMP2) Project Scale Up

The CHARMP2 Scale Up is a two year additional financing of development projects to be conducted in the 18 new barangays within the six provinces of the Cordilleras. The Project is a special project under the Department of Agriculture.

 

The joint IFAD - NEDA Supervision and Implementation Support Mission for CHARMP2 in February 26 to March, 2015 noted the following:

-success in delivery of outputs during the last two years of the Project's implementation (2013 & 2014);

-commitment of national and local authorities to participatory and locally

-driven development models for CAR; and

-support to local economic growth was relevant for poorer households, whose participation has been active and significant.

 

However, the Mission also noted that:

-outputs have not yet been translated into durable outcomes;

-sustainability of projects results were yet to be assured; and

-development objectives are still to be achieved

 

Hence, the Mission recommended (i) one year extension without cost (2016) and (ii) an additional financing for two more years (2018-2019) to:

   

(a) build on recent progress, and

(b) transformation initial results into sustained, long-term benefits for targeted highland communities to expand investment in the poorest areas of the Cordilleras not covered by CHARMP2.

Click here to visit CHARMP2 SU Website