NSC, RAFC chairpersons call for increased recognition of AFCs

Increased support and recognition for the Agricultural and Fishery Councils (AFCs) is essential for the development of the agriculture and fishery sector, chairpersons of the National Sectoral Committees (NSCs) and the Regional Agricultural and Fishery Councils (RAFCs) stressed during a joint consultation last March 19.

The said consultation was conducted by the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) at the La Breza Hotel, Quezon City for its 2016 draft plan and budget proposal. A comparative analysis of the NSCs’ and the AFCs’ performance in 2010-2014 and the 2015 approved plan and budget were also presented.

 


The YFFTPJ Batch 2014 with their “otosan”, or foster fathers, during the YFFTPJ 30th Anniversary Celebration and National Convention

The NSC and RAFC Chairpersons stressed at the consultation that there should be strict compliance to the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 2013, issued in January 2013, on the extension of full support to the local AFCs as private sector partners in the implementation of local development policies, plans and programs.

The memo circular has also reiterated DILG Memo Circulars 97-271 and 98-200 on the participation of the local government units (LGUs) in the AFCs and of the AFCs in the Local Development Councils and Memo Circular No. 2001-121 on the involvement of the AFCs in the local planning and budgeting to ensure inclusion of the AFC budget in the LGU’s annual appropriation.

The group of NSC and AFC chairpersons then proposed for the crafting of a set of implementing rules and regulations for the said memo circular or for its issuance as an executive order which could serve as a stronger governing instrument on the LGUs and other concerned government agencies.

They also voiced out the need to periodically re-orient the LGUs and the AFCs on the provisions of this memo circular and suggested that 80 percent of the DA’s funds for consultations for the different programs be set aside for the NSCs and the AFCs which are under the PCAF.

Apart from this, they also asked that the DA’s memorandum on the involvement of the NSCs and AFCs in the early stages of the DA planning process be strictly complied with.

The AFCs are the private sector-led advisory arm of the DA in the provinces, cities and municipalities while the NSCs are commodity-based consultative bodies at the national levels that also have regional, provincial, city and municipal counterparts within the existing AFCs.

“The role of these consultative bodies in addressing the challenges faced by the agriculture and fisheries sector and in coming up with strategies to attain sustainability and improve the lives of farmers and fisherfolk is and will continue to be paramount,” PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan said in his opening remarks.


PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan expounds on some of the agency’s planned initiatives for 2016.

Strengthening policy development and monitoring efforts

With the unique collaborative mechanism that the PCAF provides for the government and private sector for policy development, the NSC and AFC chairpersons stressed the need to enhance the agency’s competency in policy analysis especially on agribusiness and supply and value-chain analysis.

To improve the policy development activities, particularly of the AFCs, the chairpersons suggested collaboration with state universities and colleges in the preparation of policy briefs, augmenting the manpower and logistical support to the provincial and municipal AFCs, and provision of incentives for the coordinators and agricultural officers especially in the municipal levels.

They also asked the PCAF to ensure that there is shared understanding among the NSCs and the AFCs on the performance indicators and targets and on their role in attaining these. They also hoped that the RAFC chairpersons also become a part of the operational planning activities being conducted by the agency for the AFCs.

For 2016, as part of its Tier 2 budget, the PCAF is proposing additional budget for the meetings of AFCs as well as incentives, study tours, trainings, and equipment provisions for them.

This is aside from the continuance of 2015 activities, indicated under the Tier 1, which include the regular meetings of the NSCs, the AFCs and the National Agriculture and Fisheries Council, which is the highest governing body supported by the PCAF, area-wide policy dialogues and forums, sectoral congresses, and the participation of NSC representatives in AFC consultations which is aimed at strengthening the relationship and linkage between the two consultative bodies.

The two tiers in the PCAF’s budget and plan proposal is in line with the Department of Budget and Management’s policy for the 2016 plan and budget preparation to separate the reviews for on-going/approved programs vis-à-vis new or expanded ones to give better focus on each type of program.

To further ensure the smooth implementation of programs and projects for the agriculture and fishery sector, the NSC and AFC chairpersons urged the PCAF to consider using the Constructors’ Performance Evaluation System for its monitoring function for 2016 and to reiterate a previous administrative order on the allocation of 15 percent of the regional banner program funds for AFC monitoring.s


PCAF Deputy Executive Director addresses some of the concerns of the NSC and RAFC Chairpersons.

In her closing speech read by PCAF’s Partnership Development Division Chief Elgie Namia, Deputy Executive Director Florabelle Uy-Yap assured the NSC and AFC chairpersons that their contributions will be used in improving the agency’s 2016 plan and budget proposal and looked forward to their engagement in ensuring that the approved programs, projects and activities are carried out effectively.

Prior to the consultation, officials from the Asian Social Enterprise Incubator discussed the proposed Philippines Inclusive Business Accreditation Scheme. The said project is commissioned by the Asian Development Bank to be able to assess the viability of establishing in the Philippines a $100-million fund for “inclusive business”, which is a profitable and sustainable entrepreneurial initiative that seeks to contribute to both company growth and poverty reduction.


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