With the theme “Magsasaka’t Mangingisdang Pilipino, Saludo ang Buong Bansa sa Sipag, Tibay, at Lakas Ninyo,” which acknowledges the noteworthy qualities of the country’s agri-fishery workers, the Department of Agriculture (DA) formally launched the 2019 Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s Month on May 6, 2019 at the DA Central Office.
As part of the opening ceremony, several individuals nationwide have been recognized by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in view of their contributions to the growth and development of the local agriculture sector.
These include farmers, fisherfolk, and agricultural entrepreneurs from various farming associations and cooperatives in Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Southern Luzon and Northern Mindanao
There were also four (4) members of the National Fisherfolk Sectoral Council that were likewise feted for their work in the fishery industry. These were Annabelle Echavez of Pangasinan, Gavina Tumbaga of La Union, Charles Capricho of Camarines Sur and Fernando Ocaba of Camiguin.
On behalf of the local fisherfolk, National Fisherfolk Director Dante Noces encouraged the National Government to remain steadfast in its commitment to further develop and uplift the plight of the country’s fishing sector especially in terms of providing adequate economic activities and livelihood thru continuous development and formulation of programs aimed at alleviating poverty.
For his part, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol noted that the agency has been ably assisting the farming sector thru implementation of interventions such as the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) program which enables a sound credit scheme for farmers and fisherfolk for their business endeavors.
The Agriculture Chief also made two major policy announcements in relation to the welfare of the farmers and fisherfolk. One of which is directing all DA Bids and Awards Committees (BACs) across the country to include in the Terms of Reference the preference of the End User.
“Kailangan alam natin kung ano ang gusto ng magsasaka at mangingisda na equipment at produkto para sa kanya. Hindi na dapat tayo ang nagdedesisyon. Eto ang gusto mangyari ng ating Pangulo, na baguhin na ang ating procurement program at process, na kung saan gobyerno ang nagdedesisyon. This practice has to end now because the President would like to change the system,” said Secretary Piñol.
Another major policy set to be implemented is the representation of farmers and fisherfolk as observers in the DA’s Bidding and Procurement process.
“Ito ay para nakikita nila na walang hocus-pocus, walang hao-siao ‘yung ating Procurement process. Kasi dito nagsisimula ‘yung pagkawala ng tiwala ng ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda sa ating Procurement process kapag ang natatanggap nila ay service commodity or equipment ay hindi nila gusto,” added Secretary Piñol.
Undersecretary for High Value Crops and Credit and DA GAD Focal Point System Chairperson Evelyn Laviña also stated the importance of Gender and Development in the DA organization, as she cited the Rice, Corn and Fishery Banner Programs as among those that conducted Gender studies in the agency.
Observed yearly during the month of May by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 133, the 2019 Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s Month shall also have weekly AgriTiangges in which different agri-fishery produce and items from Filipino farmers and fisherfolk all over the country are promoted and showcased. -AE