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Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol of the Department of Agriculture (DA) visited Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet last April 27, 2018. This is part of his Biyaheng Bukid Program to visit the countryside and see what needs to be done to foster agricultural development.
Joining him in this visit were Usec. Evelyn G. Laviña, Under Secretary for High Value Crops Development (HVC) and Rural Credit; Usec BernadetteRomulo-Puyat, Undersecretary for Agribusiness and Marketing and Regional Engagement; Segfredo Serrano, Under Secretary for Policy and Planning; Eduardo Gongona, Under Secretary for Fisheries; Francisco M. Villano, Under Secretary for Admin and Finance; Andrew Villacorta, Assistant Secretary Designate for Agribusiness; Hansel Didulo, Assistant Secretary for Regulations; and Roldan Gorgonio, Assistant Secretary for Administration.
According to DA-Cordillera Regional Executive Director Narciso A. Edillo, secretary’s Biyaheng Bukid here in Benguet is distinct because of the series of significant activities that he wants to make it happen. This includes the National Extension Support, Education and Training Services (ESETS) harmonization of DA spearheaded by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), drone test flight or the use of drone to spray pesticides at the strawberry fields, launching of the National TienDA, farmers forum and the meeting with the local executives of Baguio and Benguet.
As one of the highlights of the Biyaheng Bukid, TienDA showcased farm products from Central Luzon, Region 1, Region 4A, Region 2, Region 12 and our very own Cordillera on April 27-28, 2018.
Products sold include lowland products such as fruits, well milled rice, fresh and dried fish, eggs, lowland vegetables from Luzon; fruits and fresh, dried, and processed fish products from Mindanao. Cordilleran products were also sold such as Tabuk rice, coffee, organic products either fresh or processed, fresh vegetables such as bell pepper, strawberries and tomatoes, and many more.
TienDA is a marketing initiative of DA that was launched in July 2017 that aims to provide a direct trading center for farmers and fisher folks and provide fresh and quality food to the public at farm gate price. This is in line with the agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte to provide available and affordable food for Filipinos.
“After this TienDA market expo, we are hoping that this strategy will be sustained and be continued down to the barangay level through continuous support from the Local Government Units (LGU’s) on the municipal and barangay food terminals which is also the concept of TienDA. In doing so, we can continuously stand true to our mission which is to provide access to affordable food to the public,” Edillo said.//Rebecca Dibdiben
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Agriculture secretary, Emmanuel Piñol, announced the shift in assistance of the department to farmers from subsidy to credit during a workshop of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) on April 27, 2018 at the Venus Parkview Hotel, Baguio City.
DA Regional Executive Directors and DA-ATI Center Directors all over the country converged to harmonize extension support, education and training services (ESETS) as an initial step to DA’s new paradigm.
“We have to synchronize all our efforts, from DA’s banner programs to ATI’s trainings. Subsidies aren’t sustainable. It’s mostly affected by political decisions and goes through a slow process. But with easy access loan programs, it will fast track the delivery of services and farmers get to choose what materials they want to get,” said Sec. Piñol.
Last year, the DA launched the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) in coordination with Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC). Vegetable farmers in Benguet, one of the pioneer provinces granted with PLEA, was able to 100% repay their loans. Sec. Piñol proudly congratulates the Cordillera by doing a good job and hopes that this becomes an inspiration to others.
“If CAR was able to successfully do it then we can do it nationwide too. We will unite all our efforts to make this possible,” he enthused.
In addition, ATI is now being pushed to take the role of capability building. New trainings will be focusing on the preparation of the stakeholders to be financially literate. Provincial loans support teams will also be established to assist the stakeholders and make accessing loans easier.
Agriculture has a 4% growth, the highest in 10 years. Sec. Piñol sees the problems that the agriculture sector are facing as a challenge and enjoined everyone to rise above it and prove to everyone by performing better. //Ayra Galanza