21 July 2020. In an online dialogue held with agricultural and fishery stakeholders, Agriculture Secretary William Dar confirmed his endorsement of the establishment and institutionalization of national committees to boost the performance of the Department of Agriculture (DA) banner programs.

Dubbed as National Banner Program Committees (NBPCs), these are established by integrating the technical working committees of the national banner programs and the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) sectoral committees.

PCAF is an attached agency of DA which facilitates broad-based participatory mechanisms and processes in the agriculture and fisheries sector. Mechanisms and processes include consultations, dialogues, and participatory monitoring and evaluation of DA-funded projects and programs.

Asked why the DA needs to reconstitute existing participatory mechanisms, Secretary Dar emphasized not just their advisory role but a more direct engagement of civil society organizations and private sector representatives to help boost the performance of the DA banner programs- the centerpiece of DA’s priority thrusts and directions.

“Existing mechanisms for participation are all reconstituted if needed as part of the rebooting process towards improving the DA banner programs’ planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation,” he added.

The NBPCs will be chaired by the private sector and co-chaired by the National Banner Program Directors.

Apart from the NBPCs, the Secretary also instructed the creation of other committees that would harness and solidify synergies between agriculture and the environment and natural resources possibly under the Committee on Climate Change.

He will also add a committee for agriculture and energy that would create an establishment or shift to renewable energy sources. 

Another committee will be formed for a food value chain and logistics committee to look into the value addition and efficient food distribution, and a committee on urban agriculture to focus on various commodities and interventions unique to urban areas.

“As we move on, we will also push for integrating digital technology into the affairs of the DA by digitalizing agriculture under a Committee on Digital Agriculture,” said Secretary Dar. ### CS