The Department of Agriculture celebrated, from 22-26 June 2015, its 117th year of existence. The agency mandated to develop and uplift the country’s agriculture and fisheries sectors was officially created by the revolutionary government on 23 June 1898, eleven days after the first Philippine President – Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo declared the country’s independence.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala officially opened the weeklong celebration on 22 June 2015 at the DA central office in Quezon City .
Recognizing the DA employees [and management] efforts and unwavering dedication to serve the Filipino farmers and fisher folks, specially the smallholders who need more attention from the government, the Agri-chief thanked the DA bureaucracy and acknowledged its role in introducing the agency’s programs and projects to mainstream public awareness and consciousness.
“Maraming-maraming salamat po sapagkat kung wala po kayong mga kawani ng Kagawaran, siguro po ay hindi natin matatamo ang kasalukuyang pagkilala ng ating lipunan sa ating Kagawaran,” Sec. Alcala said.
He cited DA bureaucracy’s role in restoring the farmers’ and fisherfolks’ trust and confidence to the agency.
Sec. Alcala also urged the employees to continue providing appropriate service to the agriculture and fisheries sectors, who are their true bosses that they must serve, for the remaining year of the Aquino administration.
The Aquino administration maintains the food sector on top of its priority list as it sets to achieve sufficiency and sustainability of basic foodstuff for the benefit of all Filipinos.
Under the leadership of Secretary Alcala, DA has achieved the country’s historical best for rice and corn, and has posted increase year after year. These grains, along with other staples, are part of the advocacy of the government under the Food Staples Sufficiency Program.
In 2014, the Philippines was ranked as the “World’s Fastest Rice Producer” with 4.98% annual increase in production from 2010-2014 driven by the expansion of harvested area from 4.25 million hectares (ha) to 4.74 million has.
From a P15,830/ha profit in 2010, rice farmers secured a P21,910/ha income in 2013, which translates to 38.4% increase over three years.
Net income per hectare from corn farming also increased by 65.6%. From 2010 to 2013, farmers averaged a 21.9% increase per year, mainly due to the improvement in yield, increase in farmgate prices and minimal increase in per unit cost.
Under its marketing initiatives, DA has established a number of Agri-Pinoy Trading Centers (APTCs) in strategic areas across the country to provide farmers an enabling environment for systematic and fair trade.
These modern trading centers serve as a hub for various agricultural commodities and high value farm products, provide direct access to farmers and reduce the layers of middlemen.
The trading centers also showcase state of the art facilities and slaughterhouses for the processing of farm produce, as well as meat and fishery products.
At the start of the present government, DA was handpicked to initiate rural development programs that will empower farmers and fishers and stabilize the economic conditions in the countryside.
For the past five years, DA has been sensitive to the needs of the farmers and has provided necessary interventions to assure sufficient and sustainable food supply for every Filipino. (Marlo Asis, DA-AFID)
Posted By: Lynne Pingoy