QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Amid the issue on the impoverished depiction of farm families that circulated in social media last year, the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) urges the nation to portray farming families as champions of agriculture.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar recognizes the vital role of agri-fishery workers in sustaining our economy, especially at the height of the community quarantine. “We cannot be more thankful to our farmers and fishers who work tirelessly to provide food in our tables, at affordable prices during these trying times,” Dar said.
According to the 2012 agri-fishery census of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there are 8.5 million households engaged in agriculture-related jobs, covering 43 percent of the families in the country. The DA acknowledges the need to further empower them so they can live a sustainable and happy life, with farming and fishing as primary sources of income. As such, the Department also recognizes the need to modernize the practices of farming families to enhance their productivity.
Hence, the DA, together with partner agencies and institutions — Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Quezon Irrigators’ Association, and PANGISDA — established a collaborative effort in developing the Philippine Action Plan for Family Farming (PAP4FF) which was launched last May 27, 2021 at the ATI Central Office in this city.
Aligned with the Global Action Plan, the PAP4FF’s pillars of action focuses on: enabling policy and program environment; generational renewal and sustainability; gender equity and empowerment; strengthened family farmer organizations; socio-economic inclusion, resilience, and holistic development; sustainable and climate-resiliency of food systems; and enhanced multifunctional roles of farm families which will serve as the driving forces to attain the goals of “Masaganang Ani, Mataas na Kita, at Marangal na Buhay ng Pamilyang Magsasaka” or “Abundant Harvests, High Incomes, and Dignified Life of Family Farmers”.
“We understand the plight of the marginalized sector of our economy, that is why we need to introduce more farming technologies through various extension activities like trainings, technology demonstrations, farm business advisories, and information services, that will help elevate the country’s agricultural productivity up to quadruple times,” the agriculture chief said.
“This innovation aims to capacitate farmers and fishers to improve not just their productivity but also their economic status, and foster sustainable development in the rural sector,” Secretary Dar added.
Senate has approved the Php85.58B DA budget for 2021, and on top of that is the Php24B from the Bayanihan II, which is set to finish its implementation by the end of June this year. “With the additional funding and more investments in the agri-fishery sector, we can sustain an agriculture-driven approach for economic growth, alongside empowering our farmers and fishers,” Dar concluded.