The Department of Agriculture-Bicol will forge partnerships with state universities and colleges (SUCs) to achieve Province-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Services (PAFES) with Bicol University as pilot SUC in the region.

This was announced by Dr. Mary Grace DP. Rodriguez, Chief of the DA-Bicol Field Operations Division, in a webinar on Partnership with Academic Institutions in Food Security dubbed as “BicolUConExts2020 Digital Series” on February 10, 2021 wherein she discussed the roles of SUCs as implementing partners of the PAFES as one of the agency’s thrusts under the One DA holistic approach to agri-fishery transformation.

“The role of the SUCs for PAFES is to organize and detail a dedicated core of University agriculture and fisheries extension staff for PAFES,” she said. She added that as co-implementor of PAFES, SUCs are also responsible for collaborating with national and international agencies, farmers and fisherfolk in the testing, adaptation and packaging site-specific and climate-resilient technologies in strategic locations of the province. Together with the DA and other PAFES co-implementors, partner SUCs are also tasked to train farmers and agricultural extension workers as well as develop, produce and share localized knowledge products.

According to Rodriguez, this is part of the agency’s systematic and strategic approach to agri-fishery transformation. Moreover, they are expected to assist in setting up technology demonstration farms and conduct field days in municipalities within the pilot province. Rodriguez noted that this should be done in collaboration with the DA-Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), the DA Regional Field Office, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), private sector and farmers’ organizations.

The SUC Vice President for Research and Extension is among the members of the PAFES Management Committee, which is chaired by the Provincial Governor and co-chaired by the Executive Director of the DA Regional Field Office and Regional Director of BFAR. Rodriguez also underscored the SUCs’ role in partnership building and engagement in collaboration with the DA Field Operation Division, Regional Field Office, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the DA Technical Working Group (TWG) for PAFES, PLGUs, concerned DA bureaus and attached agencies and corporations as well as the private sector and civil society organizations (CSOs) in the province. She added that the DA-Bicol is currently working on establishing the PAFES by conducting stakeholder consultations and workshops while consultation with local chief executive officers and signing of Memorandum of Agreement with provincial partners are scheduled in March 2021.

The webinar was hosted by the Bicol University Extension Management Division in cooperation with the Office of the Vice President for Research, Development and Extension and the inter-agency discussion group Tsokolate at Pan de Sal. It was attended by academic personnel and students from BU College of Agriculture and Forestry (BUCAF), BU College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP), other universities and colleges, and representatives from the Department of the Interior and Local Government, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), Commission on Population (POPCOM), and DA-Bicol. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA RAFIS V)