On its second mobile meeting for 2017, the Regional Agriculture and Fishery Council (RAFC) of Bicol went to the province of Masbate and also took the opportunity to inspect various agricultural projects in the rodeo capital of the Philippines on April 17-19, 2017.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the Rodeo Masbateño festival which is the biggest annual event in the province, Masbate governor Antonio Kho and his wife Congresswoman Eliza Kho of 2nd district, still took time to meet with the RAFC Bicol family during the latter’s courtesy call at the capitol.

 

The RAFC also monitored the DA on-going projects and activities at the Masbate Center for Livestock Development, a 22.8 hectare livestock facility of the DA in Asid, Masbate City. Research Outreach Station (ROS) Superintendent Lorenzo L. Alvina toured the group around the production areas of the station which focus on production of superior breeds of small ruminants. Meanwhile, at the Regional Carabao Breeding Center located in Mandaon, Nelly Pasion, incharge of the carabao breeding center showed the newly constructed administration building and training hall of the 187 hectares Carabao Breeding Center.

The RAFC mobile meeting was held at the 3,660 hectares ISO certified Don Emilio B. Espinosa Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture and Technology or DEBESMSCAT located in Mandaon. The RAFC Bicol, as a private led monitoring body checked on the status of the P 8.4 million worth interventions poured by the DA Bicol to the state college in 2015 as part of the DA-SUC collaborative projects. These include farm machineries and equipment, conduct of training and establishment of demo farms.

Dr. Erwin H. Malto, Jr. president of DEBESMSCAT reported the updates on the DA-SUC collaborative project during the meeting. Currently, 5 hectares are devoted to corn production and 4 hectares to rice production. They also maintain 1,000 heads layers, 16 sow and 30 fatteners. Half of the produce are given to the students who tend to the crops and livestock.

The group also visited the state college’s feedmill. President Malto said the state college maintains the facility to save on poultry and hog feeds as commercial feeds are very expensive. The facility is mainly composed of hammer mill and mixer which can produce 20 bags of feeds in an hour and 150 bags in a day of operation. The feeds consist of combined corn, soya bean cake, copra cake and oyster shells. Their products include starter mash, grower mash, gestating mash and lactating mash for hogs while grower and layer mash for the poultry.

During the meeting, the council expressed its unequivocal support to the state college and resolved to endorse the DEBESMSCAT’s bid to be a state university.

Meanwhile, RAFC 5 chairperson Alfredo R. Rillo presented the highlights of the RAFC chairpersons meeting with Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Pinol held on March 14, 2017 at the office of the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) in Quezon City. One item is the increase in the PCIC fund to provide free insurance to at least 50% of the farmers. Secretary Piñol informed them that a bill on mandatory insurance coverage for farmers was already submitted to the Congress. Another concern reported to Sec. Piñol was the request of the Barangay AFCs to be involved in the identification of farmer beneficiaries. Sec. Piñol said that the DA intends to institutionalize the AFCs as DA’s partners in all its undertakings, particularly in validation at the field because based on a study by Dr. Clarita Carlos of UP, it was found out that the AFC is the only body which exists at the ground level.

During the mobile meeting, the RAFC 5 likewise approved several resolutions which are very vital to the welfare of the Bicolano farmers. These include the resolution extending RAFC’s appreciation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s imposition of No Rice Importation policy during harvest season promulgated this April 2017 as this policy has enabled the Bicolano farmers to sell their produce for a higher price thereby increasing their income. Another five resolutions concerning the small ruminant sector were also approved by the council, namely: 1. Resolution for the establishment of a goat artificial insemination facility in Bicol; 2. Resolution to increase marketing opportunities and product development for chevon and other products from goat; 3. Resolution requesting for a small ruminant strategic planning workshop, FLS-GEM training course in the region, and strengthening of Rural Based Organizations (RBO) of Bicol small ruminant raisers.

Rosalina Tan, RAFC 5 chairperson of the regional sectoral committee on pili presented the updates on their committee meetings. Melliza Trinidad of BFAR 5 presented the guidelines and updates on the national search for cleanest coastal communities dubbed as Malinis at Masaganang Karagatan (MMK). Over P60 million prizes is at stake every year: P20 million for the MMK Presidential Awardee; P8 million for the 1st runner up and P5 million for the 2nd runner up while P2 million awaits the regional winners. (Lovella P. Guarin – RAFIS 5)