PAFC Catanduanes
By Emily B. Bordado

The Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council (PAFC) of Catanduanes this year’s national Gawad Saka winner for this category truly deserves the honor because of its dynamism, responsiveness and receptiveness to development efforts. It serves as facilitator, enabler, catalyst, and active partner to its members ….. by helping them source out founds, providing support and empowering them through trainings and technology transfer and information and policy advocacies.
PAFC also serves as the link between the Department of Agriculture and the LGUs and as active partner of both in the implementation of agricultural develop-ment undertakings.
More importantly, PAFC acts as a consultative, integrative, coordinative, advocacy and monitoring body that ensures the efficient, transparent and successful implementation of agricultural programs and projects in the province.
For 2008, the council paved the way for the conduct of Abaca Business Plan Participatory Workshop, a NAFC funded activity, on April 23-25, 2008 which resulted to the crafting of the 3-year Catanduanes Unlad Abaca Masa (CUA) Development Plan expected to benefit some 14,000 families. Abaca is the major crop of the province that can withstand strong wind and typhoons that after a year abaca plant is again providing livelihood to thousands of Catandunganons.
Today, farmers are starting to mechanize abaca stripping and micro-entrepreneurs to venture into handicraft making that provides better employment among rural women.
The PAFC also worked out the conduct of Farmer’s Forum on various agricultural programs of the government which was attended by over 850 agricultural stakeholders. It was also through PAFC that the annual celebration of the Farmers and Fisherfolks Month in May was institutionalized in the province.
Because of the PAFC’s aggressive advocacy campaign for LGUs to support the DA’s fertilizer subsidy program, the Provincial Government through Governor Joseph Cua approved P1.5M as its counterpart to the program effective last year until year 2010.
The provincial government not only recognizes PAFC but also provides annual funding from the 20%EDF with the integration of PAFC’s program of work to the province’s Annual Investment Plan. In 2007, it was provided P100,000 for its operations and P150,000 as equity for the construction of the Provincial Multi-purpose Training Center where the 1st floor will be given to PAFC for its Office, Conference Hall and Showroom for the island’s champion products like abaca, tiger grass and handicrafts. In 2008, it was allocated by the Provincial Government P200,000.00 for its operations and enterprise development plus P1.2M for completion of the Training Center Phase 1.
PAFC Catanduanes has actively promoted agricultural programs and services and improved technologies through conduct of symposia, fora and consultations cum workshop on relevant issues and concerns like post harvest development; disaster preparedness and mitigation for agriculture; credit access and credit discipline; fund sourcing for agricultural and fishery-based production and processing projects.
It assisted NGO’s and LGUs in accessing funds for eleven (11) LEAD projects amounting to P1.7M in 2007-2008. It was able to obtain P0.75M from NAFC for the Livelihood Assistance Project for typhoon Reming victims. Instead of giving these for free it adopted the “roll-over scheme” to help more families and to dispel the dole-out mentality. Already 11 beneficiaries from Virac and Bato were awarded of the roll-over fund.
It strongly supports the RP-SPAIN SAIS-BC Abaca Fiber Extraction and Marketing Projects. It has provided the Dororian Farmers Producer Cooperative a capital of P25,000.00 from the Roll-Over Fund of LEAD Provincial Roll-Over Fund for its Abaca Fiber “Tinagak” Making Project. The MAFC Chairpersons of the areas covered by the project also served as members of the Local Empowerment Team tasked to evaluate possible organization-recipients.
PAFC Catanduanes also supports the One-Town-One Product of the DTI through provision of additional capital to the Caramoran Lasa Processors Association engaged in Lasa or tiger grass soft broom making project.
It endorsed 3 project proposals to DOLE and two were approved: the Macutal Farmers Producers Cooperative in Baras (also a SAIS-BC recipient) for financial assistance for their Abaca Twine Making Project amounting to P178,000.00 and Alinawan Small Sugarcane Processors for Muscovado Production Project amounting to P103,000.00
The PAFC also supported the establishment of the Crab Center and the enactment of the provincials ordinance to curb the illegal trading of crablets outside the province.
Since 2007 it has passed and approved 21 resolutions not only in support to its own activities and projects but also in support to other NGOs and Rural-Based Organizations (RBOs) in Catanduanes.
PAFC Catanduanes is truly a dynamic, active, and pro-active, council that has inspired and empowered individual and farmers groups in the province to be self-reliant and to actively participate in the development efforts not only for themselves but for the entire nation. It deserves to join the ranks of national Gawad saka awardees and achievers.
The awarding ceremony was held on October 15 at the Phil. International Convention Center. (PICC).