LGUs must strengthen ties with gov’t in terms of farm extension service
As only one of every four farmers benefit from the country’s agricultural programs, local government units (LGUs) need to partner with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and other concerned agencies to deliver a more efficient farm extension service.
Former agriculture secretary William Dollete Dar said since the devolution of agriculture extension services to LGUs in 1991, under Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Act, it has not contributed much in improving farm productivity and farmers’ incomes, and much less reduced rural poverty.
“While there are a few LGUs that have successfully trained their agriculture personnel, and partnered with the DA and state universities and colleges (SUCs), millions of farmers and fishers still employ traditional farming and fishing practices reflective of poor LGU agricultural extension service,” said Dar, who currently serves as founding president of InangLupa Movement, Inc.
InangLupa is an agri-based volunteer organization of agriculture experts, advocates and hobbyists.
Dar said LGUs should forge a strong partnership with the DA and SUCs in their localities and adopt the ‘steering and rowing’ approach, with the DA doing the steering and the LGUs, SUCs and other partner-agencies doing the rowing.
“The DA will serve as the ‘steerer’ as it can see the bigger picture, has the expertise and R&D arm, the knowledge of the world markets, and more importantly has the ‘purse,’” said Dar.
“Forging partnerships via the ‘steering and rowing’ approach is key to uplifting millions of small farmers and fisherfolk from poverty,” he added.