Sunday, April 6, 2014

News Briefs on Budget Committee Meeting and Pre-NAF Council Meeting

In a meeting convened on March 27, 2014 at the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority Convention Hall in Diliman, Quezon City, representatives of the different government agencies, private entities, civil society organizations (CSOs), non-government organizations (NGOs), people’s organizations, farmer associations and women groups that compose the NAF Council supported the 2015 plan and budget proposal for the agriculture and fishery sectors.

In light of the presentation of the DA proposed FY2015  plan and budget to the NAF Council, the NAF Council Budget Committee was convened last March 14. The committee identified priority and critical budget-related problems, issues and concerns to be acted on and recommendations to consider. One of the recommendations is for the DA to give attention on the productivity of rice farmers by increasing the budget for research that will focus on the competitiveness of the rice sector, support to small scale irrigation systems which are more sustainable, and provision of subsidies to improve profitability and decrease production costs. The coconut sector also called for the increase in budget for research studies on how to eradicate scale insects, which currently threaten many coconut farms in Luzon. In line with this, the Philippine Coconut Authority disclosed that they have proposed PhP15 million for research and development on scale insect infestation for 2015 and is also pushing for increased productivity of coconut farms through intercropping, livestock-raising and processing. National Sectoral Committee chairpersons also offered to help in monitoring agricultural projects, programs and budget utilization. Other concerns are on the competitiveness of rice farmers once trade liberalization takes effect, resiliency of the fishery sector, poverty alleviation among fishermen, and high irrigation service fees. The stakeholders also stressed that the budget should be informed by the results of commodity roadmap initiatives.
DA officials led by Sec. Proceso Alcala discuss the Department’s budget proposal for 2015 with NAF Council members and other partners.

In line with its thrust to ensure that its consultative bodies are actively engaged in shaping national and local agriculture and fishery development, the PCAF presented its 2015 budget proposal to its partners in the NSCs and AFCs on March 26, 2014. PCAF Executive Director Ariel Cayanan presented the within-the-ceiling and above-the-ceiling budget proposal of the agency which amounts to a total of PhP203 million. The crafted budget proposal is based on the reformulated and restructured Major Final Output (MFO) and Programs, Activities and Projects (PAPs) in line with the consolidation of its precursor agencies, the National Agricultural and Fishery Council and the Livestock Development Council. The PCAF has one MFO which is Agriculture and Fishery Policy Services and under this are three proposed PAPs, namely, Development and Coordination of Agriculture and Fishery Policies; Planning, Monitoring and Knowledge Management; and, Partnership Development. He also highlighted the agency’s initiatives related to Gender and Development and Climate Change. The NSC and AFC officers in attendance suggested interventions that will help in improving the state of the sector and its stakeholders. The NSC and AFC officers hoped that there would be an efficient feedback mechanism on the policy recommendations and resolutions being passed and the results of the monitoring activities not only on project implementation but also on budget utilization. They also sought for a regular assessment of the impact of agri-fishery programs, projects and policies to the farmers and fisherfolk to whom these are intended for.

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