To tackle issues and concerns on the distribution and transportation of farmers’ produce, the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS) in partnership with the concerned DA-Regional Field Offices, conducted a consultation meeting with representatives of farmers’ cooperatives in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Region III (Central Luzon) on January 10, at the DA-CAR Old Conference Hall in Guisad, Baguio City.
The consultation stemmed from the agriculture-related issues and concerns raised during the Philippine Competition Commission- i-Station Conference on Market Competition in the Food and Agriculture Sector last December in the City of Pines.
Aside from the distribution and transport of agricultural products, other related issues and concerns were also discussed including the limited or lack of trading capital, lack of storage facilities for the safe-keeping of perishable products and increasing their shelf-life, and the roles of agri-pinoy trading centers (APTCs), among others.
DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Cameron P. Odsey said that the original concept of the Benguet APTC in La Trinidad, Benguet is to form part of the satellite trading centers nationwide. However, BAPTC’s operations at present is stand-alone, particularly in logistics and marketing.
Given the issues and concerns, the farmer’s cooperatives provided recommendations as areas for improvement for DA’s consideration in developing guidelines for the better implementation of programs, projects, and activities in the agriculture department, particularly the KADIWA Program and fertilizer voucher distribution for rice farmers.
OIC-Director of DA-AMAS Dir. Junibert E. De Sagun and DA’s Macro-Economic Policy Division Chief Tisha Pia Dela Rosa took the areas for improvement positively and assured that these will be raised with the concerned offices at the central office for consideration and/or appropriate action.
“As we go along, nakikita natin kung ano pa ang kulang, ano pa ang kailangan para pagandahin ang mga proyekto at programa [sa agrikultura],” Dir. Sagun said. He added that ‘one size, fits all’ solutions are not appropriate because of differences in challenges and priorities.
Meanwhile, Odsey underscored that in terms of policy, it is crucial to continuously push for the attainment of regional autonomy as part of agricultural development in the Cordillera, to be able to come up with programs and projects that would address the agricultural problems and challenges in the region.
Prior to the open forum, the Directions of National Government Program, the KADIWA Program, and other DA’s Marketing Support Programs were presented to provide a background of the agriculture department’s priority areas and directions at present, to which the different programs, projects, and activities are aligned. Recently, the DA released its tagline “Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya.”
Also present during the consultation were Regional Technical Director for Operations Danilo P. Daguio and AMAD headed by Chief Joan D. Bacbac for DA-RFO CAR; AMAD representatives led by Market Development Section head Menchie Nogoy for DA-RFO III, and representatives from DA-AMAS and MPED. By JBAgrifino