IN THE bid to foster a closer and stronger working relationship and acting together on the developmental issues concerning the agriculture and fishery sectors of the region, members of the Department of Agriculture (DA) - Western Visayas Regional Management Committee have convened during the celebration of Farmers and Fisherfolk Month on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.
The committee discussed various matters including the One DA Approach, Western Visayas economic performance, Republic Act 11524 or Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act, updates on Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) interventions, and the Bayanihan Act 3.
The meeting also underscored the status of African Swine Fever (ASF) and those of food and cash subsidy under Bayanihan 2 and the NFA's buffer stock and local procurement.
DA-Western Visayas Regional Executive Director Remelyn Recoter updated the committee on the impact of the state of calamity declaration due to ASF outbreak in the country.
She also discussed the amendment of Executive Order (EO) 128, now EO 133, with regards to the reduction of volume of pork products to be imported and the increase in tariffs.
Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) - Western Visayas Regional Manager Jeffrey Delos Reyes presented the salient points of Republic Act 11524 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act.
The act was crafted to develop the coconut industry using recovered coco levy assets, which were declared state-owned by the Supreme Court years ago.
Delos Reyes said any amount of the trust fund income shall be available for disbursement by the implementing agencies.
The fund shall be utilized in accordance with the development plan for a period of 50 years.
"The amount in the trust fund accounts for the disposition by the designated government implementing agencies under the development plan, to be released direct to them, shall not be lower than P5 billion for any given year," he added.
Dr. John Roel Hilario of the Bureau of Animal Industry Veterinary Quarantine Station-Western Visayas presented the updates on the region's fight against ASF.
Hilario said concerned agencies have an updated national zoning map to keep track of the latest outbreaks. Border monitoring is being strengthened, he said.
On April 30 this year, violations have been reported at the Caticlan Jetty Port in Aklan, Bredco Port in Bacolod City, New Bacolod-Silay Airport in Silay City, and San Pedro Port in Iloilo.
The latest issuance about ASF was the DA Memo No. 25 mandating that all local fishing boats from the island of Masbate bound to the Visayas shall pass through ASF inspection to check possible presence of prohibited commodities such as live swine or pork products.
National Food Authority (NFA) Regional Field Office 6 Leo Cambas, for his part, presented the status of buffer stocks in the region.
Cambas reported that NFA inventory as of April 30 is tallied to a total of 1,287,706 bags of palay and 152,455 bags of rice.
Local procurement for calendar year 2020 was 2,274,173 bags. While for January to April 30 this year, it reached 236,519 bags.
Meanwhile, PCIC Regional Manager Eva Eullie Laud shared about the livestock swine mortality insurance.
She urged the farmers to link with the PCIC to ensure indemnity claims of their stocks in times of disease outbreaks and natural calamities.
Laud also encouraged hog raisers to register in the government's Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture.