SORSOGON City—“The plans that we will be preparing today will surely create positive change in the Agriculture and Fishery (AF) sectors of Sorsogon,” said Provincial Agriculturist Dr. Maria Teresa V. Destura during the AF Modernization Plan (AFMP) 2018-2023 Consultation held this July 11, 2018 at Villa Isabel here to increase participation of provincial stakeholders in the formulation of AFMP; to have a sense of ownership in the crafting of plans among farmers’ organizations/CSOs and other stakeholders; and to identify the interventions needed for commodities from invited stakeholders.

DA-Bicol Planning Officer Mary-ann Cuya said that the AFMP Consultation is important 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, Filipinos will enjoy a strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure life (matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay).

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Elvira O. Apogñol, there was an increase in production of palay, vegetables, rootcrops except cassava, commercial crops like coconut and pili except for abaca, fisheries, livestock and poultry. In terms of farmgate price, majority of the commodities increased since 2015.

DA-Bicol Planning Officer Gladys S. Regondola 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, 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 consultation, the participants were grouped into eight commodity groups—abaca, organic agriculture, fisheries, coconut, livestock, rice, corn and high-value crops.

During the presentation, 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 95 participants attended the one-day activity which include provincial and municipal agriculturists; city veterinarian; 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), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Philippine Fiber Development Authority (PhilFIDA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG); Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), Castilla Development Cooperative; Gubat San Antonio Cooperative; National Economic Development Authority (NEDA); fisherfolk associations; Maharlika Farmers Association; and Espena Eco-Farm (jaysonmgonzales)