The Committee on Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization (CAFMech)- Task Force on the Organization of Landless Farm Workers (OLFW) reviewed the registration process of the existing Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) on its February 18 meeting to include appropriate categorization of “landless” for crops and “boatless” for fishers. 

The RSBSA is an electronic compilation of basic information of farmers, farm laborers, and fisherfolk. It aims to be a reliable source of data information to be used as basis or reference in the implementation of various Department of Agriculture (DA) programs as well as the formulation and evaluation of policies. 

Given that RSBSA is the basic requirement for eligibility of farmers and fisherfolk, the Committee examined the components, protocol, and other enrollment requirements of the system. They also checked on the components of profiling farmers and fishers, geo-referencing of farm lots, and interventions monitoring systems.

It was raised in the discussion that landless farmers are already included in the RSBSA under the farm worker category, however, it was added that no documentary requirements are being requested from landless farm workers. Another concern raised is the non-inclusion of small fisherfolks without boats or coined as “boatless” fishers in the RSBSA, considering their large population. 

A suggestion was made to ensure segregation of information and data in the RSBSA to include appropriate categorization of the “landless” and “boatless” workers.  The inclusion of the workers is part of the objectives of the drafted guidelines on landless farm workers so they avail various government programs and assistance. 

In line with this, the Body continued to review the said guidelines that are set to provide a framework and instructions on the procedures and requirements to assist local landless farm workers in organizing them into formal groups. The OLFW will catalyze the access to institutional support and direct benefits from government subsidies and programs that are usually provided to farmer cooperatives and associations.

Three resolutions were adopted from the meeting which include the recommendation to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)  to strengthen information dissemination campaigns at the barangay and local government unit levels on the inclusion of occasional farm workers in the RSBSA, and the recommendation to DA the inclusion of DILG as one of the members of PCAF-CAFMech Task Force for the OLFWs.

The Committee also recommended to DA, through PCAF, to allocate funds in support to the roles of the Agricultural and Fishery Councils at the regional level  in the implementation of OLFWs. | JC