The Department of Agriculture (DA) is updating its electronic database of farmers and fisherfolk, the agency’s primary stakeholders whose individual information are essential for proper planning, implementation, and monitoring of billions of pesos worth of agricultural projects and targeted interventions.
Updating the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture, the official name of DA’s electronic database, dovetails its broader plan to digitalize operations to reduce costs in the food value chain, widen market access to make agriculture a more profitable venture and, consequently, provide consumers with stable supply of reasonably-priced food.
Agriculture Undersecretary for Operations Roger Navarro said the DA will mobilize some 16,000 staff nationwide to fast-track the delayed collection, updating and validation of stakeholders’ personal and farm data.
“We were supposed to finish this update last year but we have so many islands to cover,” said Navarro.
Latest estimates suggest there are about 10 million farmers and fisherfolk, many of whom were identified as the poorest in the country. The DA had an initial list of 1.4 million of these stakeholders before the update started.
Aside from its own staff, the DA is also enlisting the assistance of local government units in the data collection and verification.
The registration and updating of records and profiles of farmers, farmworkers, fisherfolk and agri-youth will determine if these estimates are correct. It would also help identify those who truly deserve DA assistance.
Navarro said farmworkers shouldn’t be in the list of DA beneficiaries because they don’t own the farm or crops. Since farmworkers are only seasonally employed in farms, they should be in the list of other government agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development for proper handling, he added.
“We have to make a distinction between a farmer and a farmworker,” said Navarro. “This will allow us to cleanse the list for better use of our resources,” he added.
Labor statistics show that agriculture provides employment to one in every four Filipinos.
Two years ago, the DA started to upgrade its management information system to enhance monitoring of projects and interventions, and facilitate real-time recording of agri-fishery information.
Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr., a firm believer in digitalizing DA operations, has issued two memoranda that outline the latest parameters for the registry update.
The agriculture chief has endorsed the digitalization project, confident it will improve efficiency in DA’s operations, project implementation and monitoring. He is also looking to set up an agricultural statistics office to enhance DA’s ability to manage demand and production of food, maximizing returns to farmers and minimizing importation. ### (photo courtesy of Department of Agriculture Central Luzon FB page)