Photo shows a collage of the RAFC Chairpersons during their first day as Farmer-Directors in their respective regions. (DA regional offices)

In observance of the Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s Month, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol recently signed a Memorandum Order dated March 27, 2017 designating Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council (RAFC) Chairpersons as DA-Regional Field Office (RFO) Director  for the month of May.

As Farmer-Directors, the RAFC chairpersons assume the roles and tasks of DA-RFO Director in the implementation and dissemination of key programs of the department.

The AFC is the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries’ (PCAF) mechanism for private sector participation in the development processes at the regional, provincial and municipal levels.

For almost 30 years, the AFC has been serving as partners of the government from the grassroots level in deliberating issues and concerns, and translating these into policy and program recommendations for the government decision-makers to adopt.

“Since this is the first time PCAF launched the Farmer-Director program, we are hoping that our RAFC Chairpersons will understand how the position works and hopefully create collaboration and stronger ties between the government and private sector,” said PCAF Executive Director Sarah Gutierrez-Cayona.

In a meeting with the RAFC Chairpersons prior to the Turn-Over Ceremony, Exec. Dir. Gutierrez-Cayona presented the chairpersons’ responsibilities and limitations on their roles.

The 16 Farmer-Directors will act as a presiding officer during the regional office’s Management Committee (ManCom) meetings, and provide agenda that have been discussed by the regular Regional Executive Directors (REDs) and the ManCom participants.

During their assumption, the Farmer-Directors can also deal with semi-policy determining activities that are covered with standard operating procedures and rules. The Farmer-Director can discuss matters with the regular REDs but the REDs still have the final decision.

As Farmer-Directors, their authority is limited to non-policy determining activities which should not affect the government accounting rules and procedures as well as civil service rules and regulations governing regular government employees.

While the Farmer-Director assume for one month, the regular DA-REDs are encouraged to engage in monitoring of the programs and projects within their respective jurisdiction, and to have dialogues with the local chief executives.

The regular DA-REDs also need to conduct a RAFC sectoral meeting where they will serve as the presiding officers. They are expected to generate issues and concerns of each sector and draw recommendations on how to address them.

On the other hand, DA Field Operation Services Director, Dr. Andrew Villacorta also gave pointers to the RAFC Chairpersons during the meeting and highlighted the priorities that they can focus in their assumption of the office.

As Farmer-Directors of your respective regions, you include topics like crafting of El Niño and La Niña mitigation and adaptation strategies, check on the machineries procured by DA, and the lifting of the Qualitative Restrictions for Rice,” suggested Dir. Villacorta.– JC