BAGUIO CITY – Key agri-representatives from the regional and local government units (LGUs) convened for the Rice Program Assessment and Planning Workshop at Hotel Rugos, Naguilian Road, Baguio City this week, March 22-24.
Conducted by the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera (DA-CAR), the activity aimed to assess the status of implementation of the different components of the Rice Program; discuss the different operational issues and concerns encountered during the implementation; identify immediate solutions to address the issues; update implementers on the national and regional policies and guidelines; and, identify the targets of the LGUs.
Atty. Jennilyn M. Dawayan, Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations, emphasized that the regional office and the LGUs must move together with the ultimate goal of becoming a rice self-sufficient Cordillera.
As per the regional rice situation presented by Engr. Miriam Pastor, Regional Rice Program Report Officer, the region experienced a reduction in the rice production performance for the past three years, trickling the downward trend in the rice value chain and economic industry. With the current rice sufficiency level of 82.9 percent, the regional office aims to increase this up to 85 percent by 2024 through the utilization of the P403 million worth of various interventions and assistance coming from the department alone.
The department will distribute hybrid rice seeds, certified seeds, fertilizers, and soil ameliorants with the expansion of hybrid rice seed-covered municipalities. The regional office will further distribute various agricultural machinery and equipment, and establish irrigation systems and agricultural facilities, among others to further this goal.
During the workshop, the projects and activities of the Philippine Statistics Authority, Philippine Rice Research Institute, and Bureau of Soils and Water Management were also presented alongside the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) Database by the DA-CAR’s Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Division (PMED).
Issues and concerns of the agricultural extension workers were echoed and responded to by the concerned offices providing concrete directions as they cascade these to their municipalities. Among the issues and concerns raised by the different offices include the discrepancies in the RSBSA affecting the smooth implementation of various activities such as seed and fertilizer distribution and the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance. It was then agreed that there will be an open updating and correcting of RSBSA information with required documents; to download farmers encoded in the RSBSA as of March 31, 2023, per commodity to the different LGUs for their information, filing, and counterchecking; PMED to have a ground-truthing in the LGU level for data synchronization, and for PhilRice to forward the list of possible farmer-beneficiaries for certified seeds to the regional office and then the latter to download the list to the concerned provinces.
In closing, Edwin Joseph Franco, Regional Rice Program Coordinator, challenged the participants and emphasized the leveling-off of all implementing units in all given interventions to avoid further gaps in the provision of the same to farmers. Aside from that, he encourages a continuous partnership in the implementation of programs.