Masbate City—“ It is time to craft the best and doable plans for Masbate,” said Masbate provincial agriculturist Engineer Jonel B. Orteza during the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Plan 2018-2023 Provincial Consultation held last July 4, 2018 at one of the hotels here.

DA-Bicol Planning Officer Mary-ann Cuya said that the AFMP Consultation is crucial for the province’s direction towards agricultural development. With the new Philippine Development Plan and the new directives and priority projects of the government, the AFMP is deemed to be the first step in achieving Ambisyon Natin 2040 which is by year 2040, said plan envision the average Filipino dream to have a strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure life (matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay).

Orteza cited that the output of the workshop will truly be considered as Masbate’s own agricultural and fisheries plans and programs from 2018-2023.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Danilo Luceña, the crops and fisheries sectors contributed to the production gains of Masbate which grew by 5.59% in 2017. However, the livestock and poultry sectors contributed negatively. Thus, Luceña suggested to focus also on the two sectors when crafting future plan.

Luceña also reported that on the same year, farmgate prices went up by 8.21%. Price up trends were recorded crops at 0.53%, livestock at 7.10%, and fisheries at 7.11%, and poultry at 7.70%.

Cuya also enumerated the following intervention types of the government which include Abattoirs, slaughterhouses, animal provision & distribution program, stock breeding facility, hatchery, AI laboratory, Bridges, Trainings, seminars, workshops, consultations, benchmarking, study tours,, Certification & accreditation activities (organic, HACCP, GAP, GMP), Common service facility, ice plants, Compliance facility or laboratory related to health & safety, Desalination facility for PWS & irrigation, establishment & registration of cooperatives, farmers & fisherfolk groups, Credit & voucher program, direct payment request, Business ventures & proposal development, Tree planting, mangrove protection, forest management, Farm implements & equipment, tractors & hand tractors, incubator, farm-to-market roads, fertilizer facility, composting facility, soil laboratory. Other suggested interventions could be fish landing, wharfs, fish sanctuaries, marine protected areas (MPA) facility, artificial reef, flood control activity & projects, declogging activities, cash incentives, recognition, awards, distribution of bio-control agents, fertilizer, chemicals, small equipment, Integrated pest management, Communal irrigation system, Small scale irrigation project (STW, Spring Devt, SWIP, PISOS, pumps, etc), Handicrafts, processed products, swine raising, livestock auction market, mapping and zoning, database, market linkages specifically to buyers, processors traders, exporters, Trade fairs & exhibits, investment fora, advertisement, development of IEC materials, Packaging, labeling, branding, pre-marketing activities, distribution of planting materials, seedlings, seeds, creation of policies, regulations, guidelines, standards, ports, docking facility, post harvest facility & equipment, feedmills, potable water supply (PWS) system, processing & consolidation facility, meat & dairy processing products, production and expansion areas, fishponds, forage areas, animal farms, nurseries, greenhouse, seed banks, budwood garden, botanical concoction, permitting, clearances, monitoring, enforcement, other related activities, Hydroelectric, solar, wind, biomass, geothermal energy, research laboratories & facilities, gene bank, tissue culture lab, research-related studies, technical studies, surveys & assessment, Slope stabilization works, Multi-crop solar dryers (MCSD), drying pavement, platform dryer, Climate change technologies, customized machines, new crop varieties, trading post, marketing outlets, bagsakan & buying centers, retail networks, tram lines, transport vehicles, hauling facility, trucks, vaccinations, deworming, warehouses, storage facility, cold storage facility, and watch tower.

During the workshop, the MAOs and the MAFCs were grouped into eight commodity groups—rice, corn and cassava, High-Value Commercial Crops-Vegetables, High-Value Commercial Crops (Cacao,Cacao and Coffee), Livestock and Poultry, Fisheries, and Coconut.

Based on the output presented, the present challenges of the agriculture and fisheries (AF) sector include vulnerability to climate and disaster risks; high cost of farm inputs; low farm mechanization and inadequate postharvest facilities; aging farmers and fisherfolks; poor market price; no established buyers or market; low adoption rate of new production technologie; lack of technical competence; weak organizations; and existence of pest and diseases.

More than 100 participants attended the one-day activity and were composed of provincial and municipal agriculturists; program coordinators; provincial and municipal agriculture and fisheries councils; representatives from the Department of Agriculture-Bicol (DA-Bicol), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Philippine Fiber Development Authority (PhilFIDA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), and Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa, Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture and Technology (DEBESMSCAT); provincial veterinary office; Mango Growers Association; Cassava Growers Association; Cacao Growers Association; Masbate Goat Raiser Association; Tuburan Farmers Association; Organic Farmers Association; and Cattle Raisers of Masbate, Inc. (jaysonmgonzales with additional photos by Pat Opancia)