PCAF OIC Cayona takes note while listening to one of the MAFCs during the PAFC Operational Meeting in Patikul, Sulu. With her were PAFC Chairperson Misar Masdal, RAFC Chairperson Abdulrahman Macabangon, and Ruperto Aleroza from the National Anti-Poverty Commission. (PDD)

The Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council (PAFC) of Sulu recognized the need to conduct trainings that will enhance the effectiveness of its members as well as the new affiliates of its Municipal AFCs (MAFCs) in conducting consultations on agricultural and fishery policy issues and concerns.

In the PAFC Operational Meeting on March 23, 2017 at the Department of Agriculture (DA) Compound in Patikul, Sulu, more than 20 PAFC and MAFCs agreed to draft two resolutions requesting the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) to conduct trainings on Good Agriculture Practices and capability-based workshops.

The agreement was made after PCAF Officer-in-Charge Executive Director Sarah Gutierrez-Cayona expressed her view that private sector participation and partnership with the government are steps toward the success of the implementation of all the department’s programs.

                              OIC Cayona addresses the MAFCs Chairpersons during the PAFC Consultation Meeting in Sulu. (PDD)

“I encourage the PAFCs and MAFCs to adhere with their functions and mandates, and come up with resolutions and projects that would really serve the interest of our stakeholders,” said PCAF OIC Cayona.

OIC Cayona, a native of North Cotabato, is the first PCAF Executive Director to visit a PAFC meeting in Sulu.

According to the MAFC Chairpersons, “we are overwhelmed with appreciation for the support she has shown to the AFCs in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), especially in Jolo, Sulu, despite the prevailing peace and order situation in the province.”

In addition to the trainings, the council also agreed to make a resolution requesting the District Engineer of the second District of Sulu to construct shallow well in the Municipality of Pata for the small farmers and the community.

Aside from the gathering, the Regional AFC (RAFC), headed by Chairperson Abdulrahman Macabangon, lined up more meetings and dialogues between OIC Cayona and the AFCs and DA regional personnel regarding agriculture and fisheries issues and concerns.

The meetings were attended by MAFC chairpersons, MAFC coordinators, partner-agencies, DA program coordinators and focal persons, and other stakeholders.

In the Operational Meeting, RAFC Chairperson Macabangon gave updates on the recent meeting with Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, and the RAFC Plans for 2017, emphasizing the target accomplishments of PAFC and MAFCs. PAFC Sulu Chairperson Misar Masdal also reported the region’s highlights of activities for the first quarter of the year.

Meanwhile, PCAF’s ARMM coordinator Benjamin Donor provided answers to the inquiries about the operation of AFCs and related concerns pertaining DA personnel.

OIC Cayona also met with DA personnel where she discussed PCAF’s efforts in support to the department’s mandate to provide basic services and assistance that would help sustain the farmers’ and fisherfolk’s livelihood and increase production.

She mentioned that regional DA staff needs to help identify the urgent priorities of the farmers and fisherfolk to ensure clear cut assistance or projects.

Several issues and concerns were also presented by the regional DA personnel in the dialogue and OIC Cayona assured that these will be presented to Sec. Piñol. – JC, with reports from Edward Non, PAFC Sulu Coordinator