The newly appointed Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary, William Doliente Dar presented his plans for DA to the Ilocos Farmers during his visit for the Stakeholders’ Forum in the Ilocos Region on August 29-31, 2019.
The Stakeholders’ Forum is one way of the Secretary to communicate among farmers, fisherfolk, and agri stakeholders on important agricultural issues and concerns in their areas.
The forum was held at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), Batac City, Ilocos Norte and at the Sta. Maria Sports Complex, Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur on August 30, 2019 while the Pangasinan forum was held at Sison Auditurium, Lingayen, Pangasinan on August 31, 2019.
During the program, Sec. Dar announced various plans one of which is the implementation of the Provincial Agriculture and Fisheries Extension System where the Provincial Government will be the chairman and will be supervised by the Department of Agriculture Regional Offices.
This system is to help the marginal and small farmers to directly buy and dry their palay through the National Food Authority (NFA).
“I hope that the Provincial Governments in the Ilocos Region will also actively engage in this goal to help farmers especially the marginal farmers to market their palays. With this, we can create an intitutional partnership and to share responsibility between the DA and the Provincial Government,” Sec. Dar continued as he empasized his focus on helping farmers market their harvest.
“We will also give an award for the Province depending on how they respond on this partnership. For the Gold Award, we will give the Province P100 million, Silver Award will be P75 million and P50 million for the Bronze Award,” he added.
He also announced to the farmers the updated program of the Survival Recovery (SURE) Loan under the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) where the farmer can loan up to Php15,000 with 0% interest and payable for eight (8) years.
“The production of the farmers who will avail this loan will be procured immediately by the NFA. Wala ng suki suki sa NFA, we will implement the principle of the former president Ramos which was – those who have less in life, will have more in law, but in our case, those who have less in life, will have more in Agricultural Services,” Sec. Dar as he emphasized his plans.
Sec. Dar also spearheaded the distribution of more than P1 Billion worth of projects to include farm machineries and equipment for the different beneficiaries in the entire region under the five (5) banner programs of the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 1.
These projects especially for the farm mechanization is to raise the efficiency of labor and enhance farm productivity of farmers in order to achieve Sec. Dar’s vision for the Agriculture Sector – “Masaganang Ani, Mataas na Kita."