On Tuesday, January 18, Department of Agriculture (DA) regional director Antonio Gerundio led the signing of an understanding agreement with Palawan's local government units (LGUs), the academe, the private sector, and non-government organizations (NGOs) to improve service delivery and technical and marketing assistance to farmers and fisherfolk. (PN Photo)

Palawan’s transition to the Province-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Systems (PAFES) has begun, with the goal of ensuring service delivery to farmers and fishermen, particularly in grassroots areas.

On Tuesday, January 18, Department of Agriculture (DA) regional director Antonio Gerundio led the signing of an understanding agreement with Palawan’s local government units (LGUs), the academe, the private sector, and non-government organizations (NGOs) to improve service delivery and technical and marketing assistance to farmers and fisherfolk.

PAFES, according to Gerundio, will be used to develop DA banner programs throughout the province. As part of the strategy, the DA will help plan, invest in, implement, and monitor major projects, while Palawan will serve as an extension hub for agricultural plans and programs on commodity specialties to optimize comparative advantage.

Gerundio said all parties will meet a week after the agreement is signed to discuss the task designations of each relevant office.

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“Sana ‘yong ating local government units will take [the] lead on this at ang ating provincial government ay isapuso nilang mabuti itong PAFES kasi dito nakasalalay ang good extension service [and] good technology management,” he said.

The provincial governor will serve as chair of the PAFES with the assistance of the regional director, while the provincial agriculturist will work as its operations manager.

“Yong private organizations, sila ‘yong inaasahan namin na magbibigay ng extension service doon sa mga magsasaka na may kayang bumili ng technology. Especially good seeds, even machineries and even chemicals. Sila ‘yong magbigay ng extension services sa mariwasa na farmers, doon sa mga magsasaka na maliliit—we are expecting the government extension officers,” he said.

“Sa outskirts, we are hoping na may non-government organizations na tutulong sa kanila. Kung kailangan nila ng additional funds, we are expecting our local government units, even the national government can provide additional funds sa NGOs para ang ating IPs ay maabot ng extension services,” Gerundio added.

As PAFES is also created in preparation for the devolution, Gerundio is expecting that there will also be an increase of the local government units’ share in agriculture development in the effectiveness of Mandanas ruling.

He also expressed hope that local chief executives will understand more the work of the agricultural extension workers under devolution as the transition starts in 2022.

“Yong synchronization of plans and programs, kung ano ang inyong mga budget ay tinatapatan ng kagawaran para at least, mas marami pa ang pondo na maibigay sa ating mga magsasaka. Iyon ang sinasabi namin na magkakaroon tayo ng joint planning sa ating ginagawa,” he said.

“Sana ang inyong agricultural extension workers, we are hoping na mas maintindihan ng local government executives ang kanilang mga trabaho. Kasi ang sabi kaya hindi raw masyado nasuportahan ang kanilang extension officers ay hindi rin masyadong naiintinidihan ng local chief executives ang trabaho nila. Ngayon siguro panahon na dapat natin ipaintindi,” he added.

DA Sec. William Dar previously said PAFES is vital in agri extension and consulting services to boost farm production and income, increase food security, improve rural livelihoods, and promote agriculture.

He explained that it is in expectation of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling, which is expected to take effect this month and will give local governments a larger part of national revenues.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.