Pagtanaw sa 2050 nangangarap gawing dakilang pang-karagatang bansa ang Pilipinas

1 Pebrero 2022

Inilathala ni Melody Mendoza Aguiba

Nagpahayag si senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros ng pagsuporta sa vision  na kung tawagin ay “Pagtanaw sa 2050” na naglalayong pangarapin na ang Pilipinas ay maging isang tunay na dakilang pang-karagatang bansa. 

   Ang taglay nitong pulu-pulong heograpiya ay magiging pinaka-importanteng asset o kayamanang na pang-ekonomiya ng Pilipinas.

   Sa isang online forum na tinawag na “Halalan Para sa Agrikultura 2022” na inorganisa ng Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI), nagpahayag ng paniniwala si Hontiveros na higit sa anumang katangian, ang pag-hinang ng kayamanang pang-karagatan ang mag-aangat sa ekonomiya ng Pilipinas. 

   Ang importansya nito ay higit pa sa anumang kayamanang pan-lupa o likas na yaman.

   “Naalala ko ang mga adbokasiya na naglalayong ang ating kasaysayang pang-karagatan ay dapat na ituro sa ating mamamayan.  Iyan ay mahalaga sapagkat ang ating karagatan ay mas malawak kaysa sa ating kalupaan,” sabi ni Hontiveros.

   “Kaya nga’t aking kinikilala kayong mga nag-balangkas ng ‘Pagtanaw sa 2050.’  Mas hinigitan pa ninyo ang ‘Ambisyon 2040,’” ayon kay Hontiveros  sa online forum na pang-agrikultura. 

   Ang ambisyon na ito ay maaring isama na mungkahi sa lehislatura para na rin suportahan ang mga Pilipinong mangingisda at lahat ng mga Pilipinong may ipinaglalabang karapatan sa kayamanang pang-enerhiya sa West  Philippine Sea, sabi ni Hontiveros.

   Ang kayamanang pang-karagatan ng Pilipinas ay dapat na laging ipagmalaki maging sa lokal man na  usapin o pang-daigdigan, sabi niya.

   “Dapat itong malaman ng bawat isang Pilipino, ng bawat mag-aaral.  Dapat isapuso ang ganito nating pagkatao.  At dapat tayong mamuhay ayon sa ganito nating taglay na katangian sa rehiyonal o pang-daigdigang kalagayan,” aniya.

   Ang forum na pinamunuan ng pangulo ng PCAFI na si Danilo V. Fausto ay kapwa inorganisa rin ni Alyansa Agrikultura Convenor Ernesto M. Ordonez, Pambansang Syentista na si Emil Q. Javier,  Federation of Free Farmers Chairman Leonardo Q. Montemayor, at Rice Watch President Hazel Tanchuling.

   Ang pangangarap sa Pagtanaw sa 2050,  na pinamunuan ng National Academy of Science and Technology o NAST ng Pilipinas, ay nagsaad na ang ating industriyang pang-karagatan ay magbubunga ng $3 trillion na kita. 

Hinahangad ng “Pagtanaw sa 2050” na ang Pilipinas ay maging dakilang pang-karagatang bansa

   Ito raw ay ayon sa projection na ulat ng Overseas for Economic  Cooperation and Development o OECD.

   Sinabi ni  Javier na ang Pagtanaw sa 2050 ang magbubunsod ng modernisasyon ng agrikultura ng Pilipinas. 

   At dahil dito, mahalagang maitayo ang isang Department of Fisheries.  Ito ay hiwalay sa kasalukuyang Department of Agriculture kung saan napapaloob ang Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources bilang isang maliit na unit.

   Ang tinatawag na “Blue Economy” ay ang uri ng ekonomiya na nagdudulot ng kayamanan mula sa karagatan sa paraang maka-kalikasan at sa paraang sustenable o nananatili sa pang-matagalan.

   Ito ay isang hakbang tungo sa pagyaman ng ekonomiya na kinakailangan upang matutustusan ang pangangailangan ng bawat Pilipino sa hanap-buhay, kaseguruhan ng pagkain, at paglalaan ng raw material para sa mga industriya.

   Kinakailangan lamang na maglaan ng puhunan para sa pangkaragataang transportasyon, turismong pang-ekonomiya, pangangalaga ng kalikasan, at maayos na pagpapatakbo ng mga pasilidad ng tubig at iba pang infrastructure.

   Para sa mga Pilipinong naninirahan sa mababang baitang ng mga lugar malapit sa baybaying dagat, magkakaroon ng maraming oportunidad sa turismo. 

   Ito ay magbibigay ng kabuhayan sa 5.71 milyong mangggagawa sa mga resorts. 

   Ito rin ay magbibigay ng hanap-buhay mula sa pag-aayos ng baybaying dagat, pangingisda, at aquaculture (1.6 milyong mangggagawa).

   Para sa industriya sa baybaying dagat, 300,000 na manggagawa ang magkakaroon ng hanap-buhay.  Magkakaroon rin ng hanap-buhay mula sa pagpapatakbo ng pantalan, industriya ng barko at pangkaragatang transportasyon, pang-karagatang enerhiya, pagmimina ng langis sa dagat, bio-teknolohiyang pang-karagatan at parmasyutiko, at serbisyong pang-kalikasan.

   Mapagsisilbihan na ng Blue Economy ang pangangailangan sa diet para sa protina ng mga Pilipino na ang kuwarentang bahagdan (40%)  ay mula sa pangisdaan. 

   Matutustusan na ang pangangailan ng 30 milyung Pilipino na umaasa sa karagatan para sa kanilang kabuhayan.

   Uusbong ang mga bagong industriya at teknolohiya mula sa Blue Economy.  Kasama na rito ang bio-enerhiya sa pamamagitan ng produksyon ng algal biofuel, mga gamot, kosmetiko, pagkain, pagkain ng mga hayop, produkto ng inumin, at multi-trophic aquaculture (produksyon ng hipon, tahong, talaba, sea cucumbers, sea urchins.)

    “Ang ambag ng pangkaragatang industriya sa ekonomiya ay magiging napakahalaga lalo na sa pagpapalawig ng trabaho,” ayon sa Pagtanaw sa 2050.

   Noong 2010, ito ay tinataya sa $1.5 trilyon o 2.5 bahagdan (2.5%) ng pan-daigdigang gross value added (GVA).  Ang pang-karagatang industriya rin ay magbibigay ng direktang hanapbuhay sa 31 milyong katao, ayon sa Pagtanaw sa 2050.

   Dahil agrikultura ang pinag uusapan, sinabi rin ni Hontiveros na ang repormang agraryo ay dapat na maisa-katuparan ng lubusan.   

   Gayunpaman, mahalaga rin na i “cluster” ang mga lupa o malawakang pagsama-sama samahin upang makamit ang tinatawag na “economies of scale.” Ang layunin ng repormang agraryo at pag-oorganisa ng mga kalupaan ay hindi salungat sa bawat isa, ayon kay Hontiveros.  

   Sinabi ni Fausto na hindi makakamit ang economies of scale kung hiwa-hiwalay ang mga lupa sa Pilipinas. 

   “Dapat magkaroon ng win-win na solusyon para magwagi ang bawat isa.  Ang  Department of Agrarian Reform ay may proyekto na ang tawag ay ‘Split’ na pinopondohan ng World Bank. Ang isa nitong layunin ay ipamahagi ang mga lupa sa isang banda, at sa isang banda naman ay i-organisa ang mga agrarian reform beneficiaries upang lumawak ang kanilang kabuuang mga lupain bilang cluster.  Ito ay magpapababa sa gastos sa produksyon ng pagkain at iba pang produktong pang-agrikultura,” sabi ni Hontiveros.

    “Wag po nila gawing prublema ng agrikultura yung isang kasing-halaga na programa ng repormang agraryo. May win-win na solusyon po talaga kung ikakambal at ituturing nilang magkapatid yung dalawang programa.  May iba’t ibang modelo po iyon,” ani Hontiveros.

   Mahalaga na palakasin ang kapasidad ng mga agrarian reform beneficiaries, kahit sa unang award sa kanila ng lupa o kahit pa ipamana na sa kanilang mga anak ang maliliit na parsel ng lupa.  Pero dapat rin na may programa talaga ang gobyerno kasama ang  pribadong sektor (para sa repormang agraryo.  (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Pinaigting — kampanya na iligtas ang nagbabantang pagkawala ng Tamaraw at ng Mt. Iglit-Baco

29 Abril 2021

Iniulat ni Melody Mendoza Aguiba

Pina-igting ng gubyerno ang kampanya upang iligtas ang Tamaraw na isang “critically endangered” na hayop na ipinangangambang mawala o maging extinct kasama na ang kanyang tirahan, ang Mt. Iglit-Baco National Park (MIBNP).

   Ang MIBNP ay isang ASEAN Heritage Site. Ang pagkasira nito ay pinangangambahan lalo na’t nabawasan ang pondo para sa kanyang preserbasyon dahil sa pandemyang Covid 19.

   Sa kabutihang palad, ipinag-patuloy ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), kasama ang Biodiversity Finance Philippines (Biofin), ang programa upang i-preserba ang Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis). 

   Yan ay sa kabila ng paglawig ng aktibidad ng mga ilegal na paghuli at pagpatay sa hayop.  Sila ay nagsasamantala sa sitwasyon upang bihagin ang mga Tamaraw.

   Ang Tamaraw ay isang kakaibang dwarf buffalo (apat na talampakan lamang ang taas mula sa balikat).  Ito ay matatagpuan lamang sa pulo ng Mindoro.   

   Ang pag-kaunti ng populasyon ng Tamaraw ay naging kagulat-gulat simula ng mga 1990.   Isa ang Tamaraw sa labing-isa (11) na lamang na wild cattle species sa buong mundo.

   Ang Mt. Iglit-Baco naman na syang tirahan ng Tamaraw ay nakaranas rin ng matinding pagkawala ng kanyang mga puno.  Ang natitirang pangunahing kagubatan nito (primary forest) ay tinatayang kulang pa sa tatlong bahagdan (3%) ng kanyang kabuuang nasasakupan.

   “Nakakalungkot na sa ngayon, dalawampu’t tatlo (23) na lamang ang natitirang TCP (Tamaraw Conservation Program) rangers  at tatlong (3) MIBNP wardens na lamang ang nag pa-patrol sa core area na 2,500 ektarya sa loob ng 106,655 ektaryang MIBNP, “ ayon sa DENR.

   “Ang MIBNP ay nagbibigay tirahan sa natitirang 600 Tamaraw sa buong mundo,” ayon sa DENR.

Ang Tamaraw ng Mindoro. Credit– Outoftownblog.com

   Ang programang “Together for Tamaraw” ay kampanyang sinusuportahan ng United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  Ito rin ay sinu-suportahan ng upisina ng DENR sa MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) at ng Biodiversity Management Bureau, ahensya rin ng DENR.

   Inilagay ng International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) ang Tamaraw  sa klasipikasyon na “critically endangered species.” Ito ang pinakamataas na baitang ng pagbabanta sa populasyon ng pine-preserbang flora at fauna (mga hayop at halaman).

   Mula sa populasyon na 10,000 Tamaraw noong  1900,  ang populasyon ng buffalo na ito ay naitalang bumaba sa 120 noong 1975. Ito ay isinisisi sa ilegal na panghuhuli at pagpatay sa hayop at illegal na pangangalakal.

   Sa pamamagitan ng mga programang pang konserbasyon, ang kanyang populasyon ay tumaas sa 370 noong 1987 at sa kanyang pangkasalukuyang populasyon na 600.

   Ang nauubos na buffalo ay nakinabang sa paglawig ng kanyang populasyon nang maisama ito sa pangdaigdigang listahan ng mga critically endangered species.

   Ang mga bansang lumagda sa Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) ng pangkagubatang fauna at flora ay nakatulong sa pagsugpo ng ilegal na pangangalakal ng Tamaraw.

   Binansagan ang Tamaraw sa pangalang “mindorensis.” Ito ay sa dahilan na likas ang kanyang pamumuhay sa mindorensis ng Pilipinas. Ang “ensis” ay buhat sa salitang Latino na nangangahulugang nabibilang ito sa pulo.

   Inihayag ng DENR  na tatlumpu’t limang (35) bansa ang tumulong sa pag-pondo ng “Together for Tamaraw” na ginawa sa pamamagitan ng  online na kampanya.

   Sa ngayon ay mayroon nang  programang pang sampung (10) taon para sa preserbasyon na tinawag na Protected Area Management Plan para sa Mt. Iglit-Baco. 

   Isinasama ng planong ito ang paglahok ng mga katutubong tao o indigenous people (IP) sa programang preserbasyon.  Isinasama na rin dito ang kultural na tradisyon ng mga IP sa pag pre-preserba ng Tamaraw.

   Bahagi na rito ay siguruhin ang karapatan ng mga IP sa kanilang ninunong lupa o ancestral domain na mga protektadong lupa ng gubyerno.  

   Pinapalakas nito ang karapatan ng mga IP na protektahan ang mga bundok at ang kanyang endangered na flora at fauna. Ito ay lumalaban sa pagra rancho ng mga bull at panghu-huli at pagpatay sa mga hayop ng kagubatan.

   “Ang natural na park ay sumasakop sa malawak na ninunong lupa ng mga Tau-buid at Buhid na likas na tribo sa lugar.  Ginagawa silang mga pangunahing taga-pakinabang o stakeholder na gumaganap sa pagde-desisyon sa pagpapatakbo ng kabundukan, “ ayon sa Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC).

   Ang Tau-buid at Buhid Indigenous People ay lumahok sa zoning, pagpa-plano ng management, at mga workshops sa Population at Habitat Viability Assessment (pagsusuri ng populasyon at tirahan ng mga Tamaraw) o PHVA. Ito ay para sa konserbasyon ng Tamaraw at MIBNP. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Batas upang isa institusyon ang online learning isinulong ng isang think tank na pang edukasyon

10 Abril 2021

Melody Mendoza Aguiba

   Isinulong ng isang think tank sa edukasyon na gawing pormal na institusyon ang “online” o “blended” na pamamaraan ng pag-aaral.

   Sa pag uudyok na rin ng sitwasyon dulot ng pandemyang Covid 19,  napilitan ang mga paaralan sa Pilipinas na yakapin ang online na paraan ng pag-aaral.

   Mula sa resulta ng mga pananaliksik ukol sa online learning, isinulong ng  Educational Policy Research and Development Center (EPRDC) ang isang lehislatura na naglalayong gawing pormal na institusyon ang online na edukasyon o ang tinatawag na pinaghalo o “blended” na edukasyon.   

   Ayon sa Department of Education (DepEd), ang blended learning ay parehong niyayakap ang tradisyonal na personal na harapan na pag-aaral (face-to-face learning) at ang pag-gamit ng radyo at telebisyon sa pag-aaral.

   At ngayon ay kasama na rin sa mga medium na ito ang mga internet platforms o online na medium.

   Sinabi ng EPRDC na mula sa ekstensibong pag aaral ng Philippine Normal University (PNU), napag alaman na ang online na edukasyon ay “nagbubunga ng pina-igting na pagiging masigasig sa pag-aaral sa mga batang mag-aaral sa halos lahat ng baitang.”

   Ang pananaliksik na ito ng EPRDC-PNU ay napag obserbahan sa loob ng sampung (10) taon. Ang pag aaral ay pinag sama-sama ni Dr.  Edna Luz Raymundo-Abulon.

Blended Learning. Hango sa Let’s Learn English

   Inihayag pa nang may diin ng EPRDC-PNU na maaring mapaglabanan ng Pilipinas ang phenomenon na “brain drain” sa pamamagitan ng ganitong bagong teknolohiya.  Ang brain drain ay ang pagkaubos ng mga Pilipinong skilled na piniling mag abroad.

   “Ang brain drain phenomenon — kung saan ang mga Pilipinong guro ay pinipili na mag-trabaho sa ibang bansa kaysa dito — ay dulot ng mababang sahod.  Ito rin ay dahil sa kakulangan ng oportunidad sa paglago ng propesyon sa Pilipinas,” ayon sa think tank.

   Ang pananaliksik ng PNU ay napapaloob sa walumpu’t sya (89) na nai-lathalang pag aaral.  Ito rin ay kinikilala ng mga refereed scientific journals o kinalalahukan ng mga batikang siyentista.  Sakop nito ay tatlumpu’t walong (38) proyektong pananaliksik. 

   Ito ay isinagawa ng mga propesyunal na guro ng PNU na nagsimula pa noong 2010 hanggang 2020.

   Ang pagaaral ni Balagtas et al. (2018), halimbawa na, ay nagpakita na ang teknolohiya sa pamamagitan ng blended modality sa mataas na paaralan sa kolehiyo ay napatunayang epektibo.  Ito ay partikular na sa pagtuturo sa Learning Management Systems (LMS).   

   Ang LMS ay isang programa sa computer o software para patakbuhin ang isang programang pang edukasyon na ang layon ay magturo ng skills o ng trabahong pang-kabuhayan o kakayahan.

   Sa pag aaral naman ni Sarmiento at Prudente, napag-alaman na isang praktikal na gamit ng MyOpenMath, isa ring software o programa sa computer, ay pigilan ang pangongopya ng mga mag aaral sa sagot o homework ng iba.

   Sa isa pang pag aaral sa PNU (nila Mancao, Morales, Abulon, Ermita at David), ipinakita na ang mga mag aaral ay may positibong perception o pananaw  sa pag gamit ng online na pagtuturo kahalo ang pagtuturo sa silid-paaralan (classroom). 

DepEd Blended Learning Mode

   Naniniwala ang mga mag aaral na ang blended learning  ay isang epektibo at mahusay na paraan na matuto ng mga kursong pang kolehiyo.

   Masaya at nakaka-aliw ring paraan para matuto ang online learning, ayon sa isang pananaliksik mula sa sa isang klase ng Teacher Education Institution (TEI).  Ang TEI ay may layon na mag hubog ng skills ng mga guro.

   “Ang pag gamit ng low-cost tablets (portable computers) – online o offline man – ay isinagawa ng isang semester sa isang TEI.  Napag alaman rito na ang online learning ay naging masayang paraan para matuto gamit ang tablet at mga apps (Cacho et. Al., 2017.”

   Ang pag gamit ng smartphones, sa loob man ng klase o pagkatapos ng klase, ay sinubukan ng mga pre-service na guro (Cacho 2017).

“Ini-ugnay ng pag aaral na ito ang mabisang pag-gamit ng mga apps sa android phones sa epektibong pag-alam ng mga mag aaral ng mga mahalagang kaalaman o heneral na impormasyon.   May pagkakaisa ang mga mag-aaral sa mga aktibidad na nangangailangan ng  collaborative o pagtulung-tulong sa pagaaral.”

   Subalit sa kabila ng masidhing pagnanais ng mga mag-aaral sa kolehiyo sa pag-gamit ng ganitong teknolohiya, ang nagiging balakid ay ang kawalan ng mga qualified na guro na may kasanayang gumamit ng mga software at hardware.

   Kasama na rin  nito ang prublema sa kakulangan ng mga gadgets at koneksyon sa internet na isa sa mga pangunahing balakid.

   Ang pag-aaral ni Mancao et al. noong 2015 ay nagsabi, “Kailangan ng angkop na tulong ng mga unibersidad sa pagsasagawa ng ganitong pedagohiya o bagong pamamaraan ng pagtuturo.   Kailangan na magkaroon ng mga standard templates, class schedules, at mga alituntunin sa online learning.“

   “Sa bawat makabagong istratehiya, kailangan muna ang sapat na pasilidad at mga guro na may kaalaman at mastery.  Dapat rin lumahok ang mga mag-aaral upang ang mga alintuntunin ay masunod.“

   Maari rin matugunan ng blended learning ang suliranin sa kakulangan ng mga silid paaralan.  Ang ideyal na size ng klase ay dalawampu (20) hanggang tatlumpu (30).

   Sa kabila nito, hindi kakaiba na makakita ng klase na may apatnapung (40) mag-aaral sa mababang paaralan.

   “Isang pagaaral ang nagsuri  ng pamamaraan ng pagtuturo na epektibo sa malaking klase (Reyes & Dumanhug, 2015).   Ito rin ay may kinalaman sa blended learning,” sabi ni Abulon.

   Ang isa pang mahalagang pasilidad sa pag-aaral sa mataas na paaralan ay ang online library, ayon kay Abulon.

   Ang PNU mismo ay may web-based research management system.  Ito ay bahagi ng research portal ng PNU. Mayroon itong mabilis at may sistemang paraan sa pagmo-monitor ng lahat ng sipi ng mga pananaliksik ng PNU.

   Nanawagan rin ang EPRDC-PNU na siguruhin ng gubyerno na ang curriculum sa mataas na paaralan ay tumutugon sa pangkasalukuyang pangangailangan ng mga mamamayan.

   Sinabi raw ni Anito and Morales sa isang report na, “Ang archaic (o makalumang) paraan ay hindi na tumutugon sa kanyang mga hangarin.” (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Investments in cold storage, amendment of Rice Tariffication Law, promotion of agri among young people to be pushed by Escudero, Cayetano

February 22, 2022

Investments in cold storage facilities, amendment of the Rice Tariffication Law, and promotion of agriculture among young people will be pushed by aspiring senatorial candidates Francis Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano once reelected.

   During the online forum Halalan 2022 Para sa Agrikultura organized by the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI), Alyansa Agrikultura and three other organizations, the two senatorial reelectionists also said agriculture’s budget increase will be top of their agenda.

   Escudero said cold storage will play a significant role in upgrading Filipino farmers’ livelihood status as it will enable the transport of farm goods to unserved areas. 

   It will preserve farm goods’ quality, raising their prices, while serving the needs of locations that do not produce these goods.

   “We lack cold storage facilities. We can’t assure the good quality of our produce without cold storage in each province. Why don’t we put up incentives for (those investing) in cold storage?” said Escudero.

Sorsogon Governor Francis Escudero (Photo above- Taguig Representative Alan Peter Cayetano)

   As most of the cold storage facilities in Metro Manila are designated already for imported goods, Escudero said government can assume what importers are doing—renting in advance these facilities.  That is to assure that Filipino farmers are equally accorded the benefit of preserving their produce’s good quality.

   There are hardly cold storage facilities in Bicol Region, Masbate, and Catanduanes. Such facilities are found only in Albay and Camarines Sur.

   Cayetano said during the same forum that integrating successful small farming models into the national program is needed in order to upscale agricultural production. For instance, Jollibee and San Miguel Corp, he said, are already entering into contract growing with farmers’ group.

   “Our good ideas are never integrated,” said Cayetano during the online forum also co-organized by the Federation of Free Farmers, Coalition for Agricultural Modernization, and Rice Watch.

   Regarding the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), Escudero said he will push for an amendment of the RTL. It has not achieved what it intended to do – supposedly to benefit the rice sector and rice farmers and bring rice price down for consumers.

   “Our imports should have a timing.  Why do we import (rice) during harvest? The imports compete with what our own farmers produce. We import galunggong. If only we supported fishermen with fingerlings, the benefit should have gone to our own fishermen,” said Escudero.

   Cayetano said there is so much fishing opportunity in Laguna Lake which only has a P40 million budget.  But the beautification of Manila Bay with dolomite received an initial P50 million, then P200 million.

   Presidentiables should be made to commit to complete a certain number of hectares of irrigation capacity during his term, he said. Commitment should also be done on a concrete number of farm to market roads to be constructed during a presidentiable’s term, Cayetano said.

   As the average of farmers in the Philippines is already at older side of 53 now, Cayetano said agriculture should be promoted among young people as “desirable and profitable.”  That is considering that there are many rich people engaged in agriculture, unlike what is popularized as the image of poor Filipino farmers.

   “You can see (poor) farmers shown on TV. But if they watch European or American movies where farmers are rich and using drone and high tech devices (our young people will be convinced to take up farming,” said Cayetano. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

IFAD-supported agro-enterprise project beefed up “value chain” opportunities for Filipino farmers in 21 poverty-stricken provinces

February 8, 2022

An agro-enterprise project supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has beefed up “value chain” opportunities for Filipino farmers in 21 poverty-stricken provinces, linking them to markets, credit, training, and technology.

    In a webinar hosted by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reported that a project called “RAPID” has been helping raise income for small farmers and unemployed rural women.

   RAPID stands for Rural Agro Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth.

   The concept of RAPID is first to organize farmers into bigger groups as there is strength in number and in organization.  Then, they are provided with all the business support they need in order to succeed.

   “There was sustained growth of agri-based MSMEs (micro small medium enterprises) with strong backward linkages to farmers.  The project generates employment and livelihood opportunities,” said Mysol Booc Carcueva, RAPID national value chain officer told the SEARCA webinar.

   The webinar is part of SEARCA’s SOLVE (SEARCA Online Learning and Virtual Engagement) series in support of its five-year thrust toward Accelerating Transformation through Agricultural Innovation (ATTAIN).

   The RAPID project has so far helped 78,000 farming households increase their income by 60%. 

   Carcueva said this increase in household income is attributed to increase in production due to rehabilitation and expansion of farm production areas. 

   The farmers also reduced transaction costs from consolidation of produce, creating economies of scale.  There was better quality produce from improved production and post harvest technologies that raised prices of the farm goods.  The households also earned dividends from cooperatives.

   MSMEs were able to expand their markets and raised income from value addition.

   RAPID generated 31,000 direct jobs and 155,0000 indirect jobs.  A total of 1,050 micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) increased their sales by 100%.

   As an “anchor firm,”  or a market to purchase the farmers’ produce is vital to an enterprise’s survival, coffee farmers in Bukidnon have so far formalized their supply agreement to Nestle. 

   Cacao farmers have formalized their supply agreement with Kennemer International which supplies cacao products to global brand Hershey’s.  Coffee farmers are able to sustain their sale of specialty coffee to Gourmet Farms and roasted coffee to Equilibrium Intertrade Corp.

  RAPID also links organized farmers to a Financial Service Provider or FSP. That includes Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), rural banks, and other small banks.

Enabling small farmers to enter the global value chain– the business model that integrates them to the entire range of business activities like marketing and distribution– is critical to helping them become successful entrepreneurs.

   DTI which runs RAPID has entered in a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).  This is to facilitate the construction of roads, bridges, and needed infrastructure to support delivery of produce from farms to market.

   RAPID operates in seven regions including the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Region 7 (Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Negros), 8 (Samar, Leyte, Biliran), 9 (Zamboanga provinces), 10 (Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, and Misamis provinces), 11 (Davao provinces), and 12 (South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Saranggani, Gen Santos).

   Its focus crops are coconut, coffee, and cacao.

   There are now more than 500 coffee farmers whose produce are consolidated via the Bayanihan Millennium Multi Purpose Cooperative.  They are clustered based on their location—Nabaliwa, Mendis, Poblacion, Concepcion, Lantawon.

   Cacao farmers in the Davao provinces were assisted in acquiring post harvest facilities through RAPID’s matching grant in accordance to markets’ standards.  They were given support in farm expansion and rehabilitation. The project gave farmers training in entrepreneurship.

  The cacao farmers, totalling around 2,900,  were also linked to domestic markets—Nutrarich, Rosarios Delicacies, Cacao de Davao, MS3, CSI, AECMPC, and Malagos Chocolate

   RAPID has enabled farmers’ organizations (FO) to hurdle many kinds of difficulties in upscaling. 

   FOs that cannot provide counterpart financing are rather asked to provide non-cash counterpart such as labor, existing facilities, and assets.  They are trained in preparing their own farm plans, business plans, business proposals and in managing their enterprise. 

   They are also assisted in reconstructing historical financial statements.  

   RAPID helps maximize the interbank arrangements of government financial institutions (DBP, LBP) with other small banks to facilitate credit and matching grants.

   “Technical assistance to Financial Service Providers and assessing their capability for designing value chain financing schemes are pursued to make them more accessible to project beneficiaries. The project focuses on sectors where investments matter.  Partnerships should have a clear business case model with profitable returns,” said Carcueva. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Bayer donates Php 2.7 million to Philippine Red Cross for Typhoon Odette operation

Typhoon Odette relief operations

February 3, 2022

Bayer is supporting communities impacted by Typhoon Odette with a donation of Php 2.7 million to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC). The donation will be used by the PRC to address the urgent need of families in evacuation centers and typhoon affected areas for clean drinking water and food.

   “Seeing the impact of Typhoon Odette and the severe damage on so many homes and livelihoods in the process – it was without question that Bayer would support relief efforts through organizations like the Philippine Red Cross. We want to help enable access to food and clean drinking water which are necessary for good health” said Angel Michael Evangelista, Managing Director for Bayer Philippines, Inc.

   The PRC is a foremost humanitarian organization actively aiding families whose homes and livelihoods were either partially or totally damaged by the typhoon.

   “On behalf of the staff and volunteers of the Philippine Red Cross, we would like to thank Bayer for their humanitarian aid. Bayer is certainly a company we’ve worked with in the past for Typhoons Yolanda and Ulysses” said PRC Chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon.

   “Typhoon Odette must not be a forgotten disaster. With this donation from Bayer, we clearly see that there are still good companies who are conscious of their social responsibility and helping people in need.”

Virtual turnover call between Bayer Philippines Inc. Managing Director Angel Michael Evangelista, Bayer Communications Manager Nadira Abubakar, and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon, PRC Secretary Secretary General Elizabeth Zavalla, and PRC Fund Generation Manager Michael Jalbuena

   As a life science company, Bayer provides solutions in pharmaceuticals, consumer health, and in agriculture. “Our vision at Bayer is ‘health for all, hunger for none’, and this aligns with what we want to achieve both as an organization and as individuals,” added Evangelista.

   According to PRC Secretary General Elizabeth Zavalla, they aim to provide aid to 29,900 families in the form of shelter and cash, to give food and non-food items to 20,000 families, and supply as much water as needed. So far they have provided over 4 million liters of water in the affected areas of Cebu, Bohol, Siargao Island, Agusan del Norte, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Lanao del Norte, Surigao del Norte, Palawan, Lapu-Lapu, and Southern Leyte.

Bayer- Red Cross aids in Cebu’s restoration

   In line with its vision of “Health for all, hunger for none”, Bayer also donated Php 4 million in 2020 during Typhoon Ulysses, and donated products in 2013 during Typhoon Yolanda to the PRC. 

Hontiveros affirmed “Pagtanaw 2050” vision for Philippines to be one “truly great maritime nation” with its archipelagic nature

February 1, 2022

Senatorial aspirant Risa Hontiveros affirmed a vision in “Pagtanaw 2050” for Philippines to be one “truly great maritime nation” in light of the country’s archipelagic nature as its most uniquely significant economic asset.

   At the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI)-organized Halalan Para sa Agrikultura 2020 Monday, Hontiveros assured Philippines will have its biggest economic potential in harnessing its marine resources, more than any of its land or capital.

   “I recall advocacies for us to teach our maritime history to our people since our seas are bigger than our lands.  I congratulate you for your ‘Pagtanaw 2050’ as even goes beyond ‘Ambisyon 2040,’ said Hontiveros in Filipino during the agriculture online forum Monday.

   “That can be a legislative input in support of our fishermen at for all Filipinos who have legitimate claim to energy resources in the entire West Philippine Sea.”

   Hontiveros said the Philippines should highlight this distinctive islands-nation feature whether on regional or global stages.

   “This should be known by every Filipino, every student, to internalize such identity, and we should behave, should act such in regional and global stages.”

   The forum led by PCAFI President Danilo V. Fausto was co-organized by Alyansa Agrikultura Convenor Ernesto Ordonez, National Scientist Emil Q. Javier,  Federation of Free Farmers Chairman Leonardo Q. Montemayor, and Rice Watch President Hazel Tanchuling.

   The Pagtanaw 2050 visioning, led by the National Academy of Science and Technology, noted that $3 trillion will be generated from ocean industries based Overseas for Economic  Cooperation and Development forecast.  Javier asserted Pagtanaw 2050’s role in agriculture modernization which will need the establishment of a separate Department of Fisheries. 

   The “Blue Economy” (sustainable ocean-focused) approach to economic prosperity is imperative for the Philippines’ provision of livelihood, food security, and industry raw materials, according to Pagtanaw 2050.

   Investments have to be made on coastal transport, ecotourism, habitat protection, and water use and supply management, among others.

   With 60 million Filipinos living in low-elevation coastal zones, economic opportunities will be on tourism (now with 5.71 million workers), resorts, coastal development, fisheries and aquaculture (1.6 million workers), coastal manufacturing (300,000 workers), ports, shipping, marine transport, ocean energy (with coal now taking up 40% of energy mix), seabed mining for oil, marine biotechnology and medicine, and environmental services. The Filipino protein diet of 40% comes from fisheries, and some 30 million Filipinos depend on it and related industries for livelihood.

   Among emerging industries and technologies from the Blue Economy are bioenergy through algal biofuel production, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food, feeds and beverages; multi-trophic aquaculture, and food and medicine.

Pagtanaw 2050 visions Philippines as one truly great maritime nation

 “The contribution of ocean-based industries to economic output and employment is very significant.  In 2010, this was valued very conservatively at $1.5 trillion or approximately 2.5% of world gross value added.  Direct full time employment in the ocean economy amounted to around 31 million jobs,” according to Pagtanaw 2050.

   Regarding land reform which has yet to be completed in the Philippines, Hontiveros said that the efforts now to “cluster” lands in order to achieve economies of scale is not opposite to the effort in agrarian reform.    

   Fausto cited studies that the agriculture sector cannot achieve economies of scale due to the fragmentation of land brought by land reform.

   “There should be a win-win solution (land reform versus clustering).  Department of Agrarian Reform has a project called Split funded by World Bank.  Their job on one hand is to break down lands and on the other, to consolidate lands. To achieve economies of scale and lower cost of production, there should be a solution to this for our agriculture production,” Fausto said.

    “Wag po nila gawing problema ng agrikultura yung isang kasing halaga na programa ng repormang agraryo. May win-win solution po talaga kung ikakambal, ituturing nilang magkapatid yung dalawang programang.  May iba’t iba pong modelo iyon,” she said.

   “Yung empowerment ng ating mga agrarian reform beneficiaries, kahit sa unang award sa kanila at kahit pa ipamana na sa kanilang mga anak sa mas maliliit na parcel pero (dapat may ) programa talaga ang ating gobyerno in partnership sa ialng mga private sector (para sa agrikultura),” said Hontiveros.  (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Innovations in sustainable agriculture sought to be recognized amid typhoon destructions from climate change, Covid 19 pandemic

January 18, 2022

With the Philippines’ growing population and the many challenges faced by the agricultural sector already burdened by the pandemic situation to sustainably meet demand for food supply, the need to help both people and planet thrive is stronger than ever.

   To recognize and support much needed sustainable agriculture programs in the country, the Pest Management Council of the Philippines, Inc. (PMCP) and Bayer CropScience Philippines is now opening the PMCP-Bayer Agricultural Sustainability Award for nominees.    

   The Award aims to put the spotlight on high-impact programs and initiatives accomplished by individuals contributing towards promoting and strengthening agricultural sustainability in the country.

   The PMCP-Bayer Agricultural Sustainability Award is open to individuals from the private and public sector – such as researchers, scientists, farmers, entrepreneurs, government officials, employees, or part of the academe.

   Individuals should have accomplished either of the following within the scope of both pest management and agricultural sustainability:

• Developed a research paper contributing to sustainable pest management practices

• Demonstrated the importance of sustainable use of agricultural technologies for small holder farmers

• Conducted a field trial or experiment that resulted to a milestone or learning on sustainable pest management

• Spearheaded an initiative leading to advocacy or promotion (ex. educational programs) of sustainable pest management practices and adoption of sustainable agricultural practices

• Contributed to enactment of significant policies or guidelines on sustainable pest management

• Acted as a catalyst within his/her community or organization that led to shift in pest management practices with sustainability principles

   A newly established Award, the nominee’s accomplishments should have been completed within 2019-2021 with sufficient documentation to show evidence of his/her accomplishment and its PMCP-Bayer Agricultural Sustainability Award open for Filipino agri changemakers — impact on agricultural sustainability, including letters of recommendation from the nominee’s network.

   Nomination period runs from January 15, 2022 to March 31, 2022 with an evaluation period from March-April 2022. Nominations must be sent via email to pmcpbayer.sustainabilityaward@gmail.com.

   After the evaluation period, the chosen awardee will be announced during the PMCP Annual Scientific Conference in July 2022.

   He or she will receive a plaque and 50,000 pesos cash prize. About the PMCP-Bayer Agricultural Sustainability Award Guided by its vision of “Health for all, Hunger for none”,    

   Bayer promotes inclusive growth and responsible use of resources to help people and planet thrive.

Bayer’s Sustainable Agriculture practices contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals

   Sustainability is an integral part of its strategy and values, with sustainability targets that include reducing the environmental impact of crop protection while promoting sustainable production and circular options that reduce, recycle, reuse and replace.

    Thus, recognizing the vital role of experts and stakeholders in agricultural pest management to deliver effective & practical solutions for farmers, the PMCP-Bayer Agricultural Sustainability Award aims to highlight high-impact initiatives geared towards agricultural sustainability.

   For more information, please email pmcpbayer.sustainabilityaward@gmail.com.

Phils should put up more Climate Field School, rainwater harvesters, organic compost facilities—Loren Legarda

January 17, 2022

Philippines should put up more Climate Field School (CFS) similar to one in Siargao Island, rainwater harvesters, and organic compost facilities in order to adapt to climate change and flourish its agriculture sector amid weather-related disasters.

   Climate change, and its destructions as that of Odette all over Visayas and Mindanao, can no longer be ignored if Philippines’ agriculture sector should take off, according to House Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda.

   Speaking at the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc.’s (PCAFI) Halalan 2022 Para sa AGrikultura, Legarda said she will be pushing for “greening” of the supply chain once elected senator.

   PCAFI President Danilo V. Fausto, along with Alyansa Agrikultura’s Ernesto Ordonez, and three other farm-based groups are orienting 2022 election candidates on the plight of Philippines’ agriculture. Others proposing recommendations are Federation of Free Farmers Chairman Sec. Leonardo Q. Montemayor, National Scietnist Dr. Emil Q. Javier, and Rice Watch Chairman Hazel Tanchuling.

   A Climate Field School for Farmers and Fisherfolks was first established in Dumangas, Leyte.

   Its 16 module program for farmers includes 1. Climate, Pests and Diseases, Crop Growth & Development 2. Cropping System/Pattern and Climate-Related Risks 3. Understanding Weather and Climate and Climate Parameters 4. Weather and Climate Information Products 5. Forecast Interpretation, Translation and Communication, and 6. Forecasts Generation.

   The rest of the training is on Incorporating Climate Forecast in Decision Making, Understanding Forward and Backward institutional linkages in Agriculture Sector

Learning, and Implementing the Rice Integrated Crop Management System Palay Check.

   Legarda said coastal greenbelts, largely planted with mangroves as that found in Del Carmen, Siargao Island, should be put up nationwide.

Mangrove-planted coastal greenbelts help protect islands from disastrous typhoons. Credit-CNN 

   “Their mangroves, their coastal greenbelt in Del Carmen, Siargao, helped them against the (typhoon destructions).  Their destruction has not been as serious as those in other local governments units in the island of Siargao,” Legarda said.

   She may not be the author of the Rainwater Collection and Springs Development Act of 1989, said Legarda. But she is pushing for rainwater harvester’s establishment in each barangay.

   “It makes sense because there’s so much water, but we don’t have water,” she said.

   Arsenio “Toto” Barcelona, president of vegetable producer Harvest Agribusiness Corp, said during the online forum that National Irrigation Administration’s (NIA) irrigation facilities irrigate largely rice only.

   “It’s high time we rationalize how we use our resources especially we are made up of many islands, so our waterways are not continuous.  Water resources should be done on island basis.  There should be a regionalized development of water resources,” said Barcelona.

   “NIA, under the Office of the President, has its 85 to 90% irrigation going just to rice fields.  We should look into this. We should see the importance of irrigation on the productivity of vegetables and fruits.”

   Barcelona said the Philippines has one of the lowest yield in high value crops among Association of Southeast Asian Nations due to deficiencies in irrigation practice.    

   “So we should give importance to new technology in irrigation especially precision irrigation,” he said.

   Legarda said organic composting should also be practiced among farmers as rice straws, animal manure, and other organic wastes are a ubiquitous source of fertilizers.

   PCAFI and the four farm-based groups have been orienting 2022 candidates on the state of Philippine agriculture and have filed the following recommendations:

  1. Allocation of at least 10% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) budget for agriculture which is just “fair” considering its GDP contribution of 10%.  At present, the sector just gets 1.5% budget.  Livestock and poultry contributes 27.7% to agriculture while it only gets 5.6% of the budget.  Corn contributes 6.4%, but it only gets 1.7% of DA budget.
  2. Tariff collections should be used to develop the corresponding sector—Corn, fisheries, livestock and poultry tariff should be used to develop corn, fisheries, livestock and poultry sectors.
  3. The Safeguard Measures Act, Anti Dumping Act, among others, should protect local farmers from unfair competition from imports.
  4. National Irrigation Administration should be administered by DA for proper irrigation coordination.
  5. The Bureau of Agriculture Cooperatives should be created under DA
  6. Local government Units should allocate funds for agriculture extension as part of the proposed Province-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension System (PAFES) to ensure farmers get direct assistance on technology.
  7. Convergence of DA, Department of Trade and Industry, and Department of Science and Technology to promote food and beverage manufacturing
  8. Establishment of agro-industrial hubs and corridors
  9. Passage of Land Use Bill to preserve agricultural lands
  10. Diversification of agriculture production to invest more in horticultural and industrial crops, poultry, livestock, fisheries
  11. Developing biotechnology, food science, automation, digitalization to enhance productivity and competitiveness
  12. Regreening, watershed management, and agro-forestry implementation. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Proposed Bureau of Cooperative under DA to play pivotal role in consolidating fragmented farm land to achieve economies of scale, agri modernization

January 13, 2022

The proposed Bureau of Cooperative under the Department of Agriculture (DA) will play a pivotal role in consolidating fragmented farm lands to enable Philippines to achieve economies of scale and agro-industrial modernization.

   Senator Richard Gordon said government should promote “cluster” farming or cooperative farming so large scale of land can be consolidated amid the agrarian reform’s land fragmentation.

   “There is strength in number.  Even in foreign policy, treaties are a result of equal bargaining strength.  We should encourage cluster farming or cooperative farming.  They do that in Del Monte,” Gordon said during the Philippines Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc.’s (PCAFI) Halalan 2022 Para sa Agrikultura.

PHOTO Providing farmers cost-efficient farm mechanization becomes possible with land consolidation, farmers’ organization. Credit-DA

   “If farmers are  disorganized, if you let them by themselves, business will not come in as there are no rules.”

   PCAFI President Danilo V. Fausto, along with Alyansa Agrikultura led by Ernesto Ordonez, and three other farm-based groups,  has been orienting 2022 election candidates on the plight of agriculture. 

   Also proposing recommendations through the online forum are Federation of Free Farmers Chairman Sec. Leonardo Q. Montemayor, National Scientist Dr. Emil Q. Javier, and Rice Watch Chair Hazel Tanchuling.

   In order for agriculture services to be rendered to farmers, such as providing for them cost-efficient farm machineries, their organization is pertinent.

   One of such way to organize farmers is for bigger farm companies to enter into contract growing agreements with small farmers.

    “Contract growing in the private sector will formally integrate small farmers into the supply chain,” said Javier, also chairman of the Coalition for Agricultural Modernization (CAMP).

   Gordon, a senatorial reelection aspirant, said the cooperative will be a way to protect farmers from exploitation of traders and middlemen who exploit farmers by paying the cheapest price.

   He said a law does not need to be enacted for the cooperatives to be put up.  The cooperative system has already been existing among successful groups such as the TADECO (Tagum Agricultural Devt. Co) or among sugar planters.

   Gordon envisions the establishment of industrial parks for agriculture ventures such as the parks in Subic where enterprises enjoy tax incentives in order to flourish.

   “The Department of Agriculture (DA) should create an atmosphere so farmers can sell their production and be supported with the extension.  Private sector can fund the farmers so that farmers have the assurance of a market for their produce,” he said.

   PCAFI and the four farm-based groups have also filed with the candidates the following recommendations:

  1. Allocation of at least 10% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) budget for agriculture which is just “fair” considering its GDP contribution of 10%.  At present, the sector just gets 1.5% budget.  Livestock and poultry contributes 27.7% to agriculture while it only gets 5.6% of the budget.  Corn contributes 6.4%, but it only gets 1.7% of DA budget.
  2. Tariff collections should be used to develop the corresponding sector—Corn, fisheries, livestock and poultry tariff should be used to develop corn, fisheries, livestock and poultry sectors.
  3. The Safeguard Measures Act, Anti Dumping Act, among others, should protect local farmers from unfair competition from imports.
  4. National Irrigation Administration should be administered by DA for proper irrigation coordination.
  5. The Bureau of Agriculture Cooperatives should be created under DA
  6. Local government Units should allocate funds for agriculture extension as part of the proposed Province-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension System (PAFES) to ensure farmers get direct assistance on technology.
  7. Convergence of DA, Department of Trade and Industry, and Department of Science and Technology to promote food and beverage manufacturing
  8. Establishment of agro-industrial hubs and corridors
  9. Passage of Land Use Bill to preserve agricultural lands
  10. Diversification of agriculture production to invest more in horticultural and industrial crops, poultry, livestock, fisheries
  11. Developing biotechnology, food science, automation, digitalization to enhance productivity and competitiveness
  12. Regreening, watershed management, and agro-forestry implementation. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)