NAGA CITY –Over 1,250 Agricultural Extension Workers (AEWs) from the Bicol region converged in one of the hotels in this city for the Profiling of AEWs among Local Government Units (LGUs) as one of the requirements for the clamored detailment of AEWs to the Department of Agriculture regional offices if the 2018 budget will permit. The one day activity was held on August 30, 2017.
The profiling is being conducted nationwide and is targeted to cover all permanent/regular employees (within the office or detailed), casual employees, contractual and job orders, local field technicians, and all personnel holding Technical items (doing technical or non-technical and administrative functions). It covers all extension staff from the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO), City Agriculture Office (CAO) and Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO/OPAG). Also included were extension staff from different municipal, city and provincial veterinarian offices.
The profiling was aimed to determine the logistical and technical needs of the extension support system in the country; and generate recommendations for an effective and efficient delivery of the extension support to further enhance the National Extension Agenda and Programs for 2017-2022. The profiling also aims to assess the gaps, issues and experiences of different LGUs.
As frontliners in the implementation of agricultural programs, the Agricultural Extension Workers (AEWs) play a crucial role in the dissemination of information and transfer of technologies to farmers and stakeholders.
It will be recalled that the AEWs were devolved to the Local Government Units during the implementation of the Local Government Code of 1991. The said code mandated the “devolution to the LGUs of the extension and on-site research services and facilities related to agriculture and fishery activities, …water and soil resource utilization and conservation projects; and enforcement of fishery laws in municipal waters including the conservation of mangroves.”
Numerous studies and reports showed the problem with the devolution which led to poor delivery of agricultural extension services particularly in municipalities where agriculture is not a priority program.
DA Bicol OIC Regional Technical Director for Operations and Extension Rodel P. Tornilla said that the results of the profiling activities will be consolidated and analyzed by the DA Field Operations Services in Manila and will be used in preparing recommendation and reports to be submitted to the Department of Budget and Management for the allocation of additional budget. OIC RTD Tornilla added that a Memorandum of Agreement between the DA and League of Provinces, Cities and Municipalities will be signed to prompt the detail of the AEWs to the DA in 2018. (Lovella P. Guarin)