LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte–In an effort to strengthen and synergize provincial and municipal extension services, the Department of Agriculture (DA) leads the operationalization of the Provincial Agriculture and Fisheries Extension System, starting with Ilocos Norte.
In a ceremony held at the Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena, officials from DA and the provincial government of Ilocos Norte signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) creating the Ilocos Norte Agriculture and Fishery Extension System (INAFES). The system will be institutionalized to strengthen the collaboration between DA, the local government units, the academe, and the private sector in bringing extension services to the grassroots level.
In this initiative, a pool of professionals will be engaged to provide technical and business advisory services to farming and fishing communities and other related sectors. INAFES is also seen to help the provincial government in coordinating with municipal extension units and strengthening their linkages with research, development, extension institutions, and policy-makers.
DA Secretary William Dar and Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc signed the MOA. Other signatories include Mariano Marcos State University President Shirley Agrupis, DA-Regional Field Office I Director Lucrecio Alviar, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region I Director Nestor Domenden, DA undersecretaries and assistant secretaries, and representatives from different DA bureaus and attached agencies.
In his message, Dar stressed the need to sustain partnerships for the betterment of Filipino farmers and fishers. INAFES, he said, is among the strategies to nurture “Ani at Kita,” DA’s current battle cry to improve productivity and increase income in agriculture.
Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) Director Alfredo Aton, Officer-in-Charge Assistant Director Rosana Mula, and Regional Training Center Director Rogelio Evangelista were also present in the event. With the system in place, ATI is expected to train extension workers and support the training of cooperatives on agro-enterprise development along with the priority commodities of the province.
The Institute will assist the provincial government in establishing and sustaining strong linkages with the partner agencies. As the lead convening agency of the Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Network, ATI will also participate in identifying extension program priorities and in mapping out and implementing the Province-led Agricultural and Fisheries Extension Program.
Ilocos Norte is one of five pilot provinces identified under this effort. As of this writing, the other areas selected are Isabela, Quezon, Bohol, and Davao del Norte.
The MOA signing event was held last February 28, 2020. It coincided with the distribution of financial assistance under the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance Program and the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.