The Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office I hosted the National Corn Program 4th Quarter Review and Assessment cum Planning Workshop at the Plaza del Norte in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on November 27-28, 2013.
Attended by the National Corn Program Directorate & Undersecretary for Field Operations Edilberto de Luna, Ilocos Norte Provincial Administrator Windell Chua representing Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, DA-Regional Field Office I Regional Executive Director Valentino Perdido, the 16 Regional Corn Program Coordinators of the country, together with the various key partner agencies at the national level, the review and planning workshop is a quarterly activity of the National Corn Program to identify important strategies, problems encountered and lessons learned in project implementation necessary to carry out the goals and objectives under the Program.
In his message during the Opening Program, ASEC de Luna underscored the importance of reviewing the performances of each region in terms of their planned activities, programs and projects vis a vis the financial targets and accomplishment.
In measuring the success of any developmental programs and projects, ASEC De Luna mentioned three determining factors which include the level of yield increment, the significant increase in the income of farmers, and the generation of new jobs that would contribute to the attainment of the nation's agenda on "inclusive growth" or the reduction of poverty incidence in the countryside.
"Our job at the National Corn Program is not only to produce corn to provide feeds for the livestock industry and to feed the population... "Hindi lang ganun kasimple, we must contribute in the reduction of poverty incidence," ASEC de Luna said.
Prior to setting the physical targets for every regions, ASEC de Luna updated the participants about the Program's commitment to the DA's Food Staple Sufficiency Program (FSSP). According to ASEC de Luna, the Corn Program committed a total of 2.7 million metric tons of white corn and 600,000 metric tons of fresh cassava. He likewise informed the group that the Program committed to improve the 12% reduction of post harvest losses by the provision of post harvest facilities since bulk or 60% of the total budget is intended for the development of farm machineries and post harvest equipment.
To realize these commitments, he requested the regional Corn Program Coordinators and its allied agencies to know their priority projects and that these should be aligned in the Major Final Outputs. "Kung saan nangangailangan ng intervention, doon niyo dapat ifocus ang inyong programs, activities and budget," he said.
He likewise asked the Regional Coordinators of the corn-eating regions to consider in their 2015 budget the purchase of better quality corn mills and gave them the liberty to identify the types of machineries and farm equipments that they would want to propose. However, he stressed the need to ensure that these proposed projects are AMTEC or PHILMech certified to assure the farmers of the quality of the machineries proposed.
With the approved budget of P7.7B of the Corn Program for 2014, he directed the Corn Program Coordinators to fix their targets that would sustain or even surpass the 8.2 million metric tons production performance of 2012. Although latest forecast of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics indicated that the Corn Program could only attain 7.4 million metric tons in 2013, 3% lower than the previous accomplishment, ASEC De Luna is still positive that the country would still be sufficient in its feed stock. The latest feed stock inventory is pegged at 1.3 million metric tons which would last at least for 4 months and around 600,000 metric tons of cassava that would last for another 4 months.
Meanwhile, Dir. Valentino C. Perdido in his message during the event boasted the production performance of Ilocos Region in terms of rice, corn, fruit and vegetables commodities. As of date, Ilocos region is the country's leading producer of mango, peanut, mungbean, dragon fruit, garlic and bangus. It is also known as the major producer of the best quality corn among the 16 regions of the country and very sufficient in almost all commodities.
At the onset of his message, Director Perdido stressed so much anticipation of fun and excitement that Ilocos Norte has to offer to the participants. "Beside the fun and excitement that you will experience in your stay here in Ilocos Norte, we hope that you will enjoy the memories and warmth of the people that you will get along as you travel to the scenic spots in the province," Dir. Perdido said.
Among the highlights of the three day activity were the presentations of the regional accomplishments for the third quarter and the forecast production targets and accomplishments for the year. Likewise, representatives of the key partner agencies such as Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA), Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), Livestock Development Council (LDC), Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Planning Service of the Department of Agriculture, Philippine Center for Post Harvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), and other key partner-agencies have discussed their programs, projects and activities in support to the development of the Corn Program.#####