The Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) spearheaded the National Consultation-Workshop on the Formulation of Action Plans and Strategies on the Strengthening of Agricultural Engineering (AE) Groups of the Local Government Units (LGUs).

The two-day activity was held in pursuant to Section 29 of Republic Act 10601 or the Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization Law (AFMech) that mandates the LGUs to create and/or strengthen their AE groups to serve as the planning, coordinating, regulating, and implementing bodies on agri-fisheries engineering, mechanization, and infrastructure programs and projects.

The consultation-workshop aims to gather inputs from almost 100 participants from concerned government agencies, LGUs, and private sectors that will be incorporated in the action plans and strategies in the strengthening of the LGUs’ AE groups.

The plenary workshop identifies issues and concerns on areas of concern: policy; capacity development; and compliance on the policies/issuances.

Among the issues and concerns that were raised during the discussion were structure, staffing pattern and qualification standards of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineers (ABE) positions; awareness of the Human Resource Management Office on the creation of LGUs’ AE; and lack/limited on regular AE-related trainings for extension workers, trainors, and farmer groups.

Engr. Ariodear Rico, Vice Chairperson of AFMech Committee, answers various questions raised by the participants during the plenary workshop

To address these matters, participants suggested to issue a Joint Memorandum from Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Civil Service Commission (CSC), and Professional Regulation Commission – ABE (PRC-ABE) regarding the implementing guidelines on the strengthening of AE groups of the agricultural offices in the LGUs.

It was also recommended to conduct Information Education Communication Campaign regarding the provisions of AFMech Law and massive trainings for LGUs’ AEs.

The two-day activity was held on November 6-7, 2017 at the DA New Building in Quezon City.

The undertaking has also paved the way to formulate/finalize the DA Deployment Program of ABE in the fourth to sixth class municipalities. – LC