By Lilybeth Ison
Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar said yesterday, October 21, that the signing of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 113211, or the “Sagip Saka” Act, will further enhance agribusiness in the country.
“I thank the authors of RA 113211 as this can concretize, and support the new programs and projects of the Department of Agriculture (DA) because of the inclusive agribusiness system that we would like to pursue beyond just increasing productivity,” Dar said at the signing of the IRR held at the DA central office in Quezon City.
“The value chain system is in place and this gives us now a way forward in terms of broadening the interventions, such as the ‘bagsakan’, tooling (the) packaging centers, so that before farmers can transport their produce, these are well packed,” he added.
Dar said the signing of the IRR also paves the way to identify additional measures where inclusive agribusiness “will really be the way to enhance the services of the DA, including our partners — the local government units (LGUs).”
“I have said time and again, there is only one system, one nation. I have talked with DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) and DOST (Department of Science and Technology) secretaries. I told them this is the time to converge and synergize, and harmonize everything anchored on inclusive agribusiness system with value chain as the guide,” Dar said.
“I am hoping that the agribusiness mechanism is a way with which we can further enhance the capacities of the farmers through their associations or cooperatives in transforming themselves towards inclusive agribusiness,” he added.
The Sagip Saka Act, which was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on April 17, 2019, establishes the “Farmers and Fisherfolk Enterprise Development Program”, which refers to “the comprehensive set of objectives, targets, and holistic approach in promoting the establishment of enterprises involving agricultural and fishery products”.
The program shall be integrated and be made consistent with the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Plan, and the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Plan.
The law also entails the creation of the “Farmers and Fisherfolk Enterprise Development Council” to oversee the proper implementation of the program.
It shall be composed of representatives from DA, DTI, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Finance (DOF), as well as representatives from the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), farmers’ and fisherfolk’s organizations, and agriculture/food/restaurant/business sector.
The law likewise provides that activities and funding support for Sagip Saka would be included in DA’s annual plan and budget proposal. (First published by PNA, Oct. 21, 2019)