‘Sagip Saka’

THE DRAFTING of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Sagip Saka Act, or Republic Act (RA) 11321, was recently held at the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Diliman, Quezon City.

The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) participated in a series of Technical Working Group (TWG) meetings for the said drafting.

PCAARRD recommended to make the IRR lean more to entrepreneurship rather than simply providing technical support services to farmers and fisherfolk.

In particular, providing leadership skills development activities should be included as one of the key assistance for agricultural and fishery enterprises.

PCAARRD also suggested that the Sagip Saka Act should be able to address the gaps and improve the existing programs and initiatives.

The Act aims to help the agricultural and fishing communities reach their full potential, increase income, and bridge gaps through the establishment of the Farmers and Fisherfolk Enterprise Development Program.

The program will assist local farmers and fisherfolk in the form of improving production and productivity, improving access to financing programs (credit grants and crop insurance), providing access to improved technologies, and providing business support and development services.

The Act covers the following areas: agricultural and fisheries production, including fisheries and agri-based products and farm inputs; acquisition of work animals, farm and fishery equipment and machinery; acquisition of seeds, fertilizer, poultry, livestock, feeds, and other similar items; procurement of agricultural and fisheries products for storage, trading, processing, and distribution; construction, acquisition, and repair of facilities for production, processing, storage, transportation, communication, marketing, and such other facilities in support of agriculture and fisheries; working capital for agriculture and fisheries graduates to enable them to engage in agriculture and fisheries; agribusiness activities which support soil and water conservation and ecology enhancing activities; working capital for long gestating projects, and credit guarantees on uncollateralized loans to farmers and fisherfolk.

The Act was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on April 27, 2019.

During the 3rd TWG meeting, the Technology Transfer and Promotion Division of PCAARRD suggested that the science-based technologies, to be used in identifying and prioritizing agricultural and fishery products that will be covered by the Act, should refer to those matured and improved technologies generated through Research and Development.

The TWG meeting was facilitated by the DA-Agribusiness Promotion Division (APD)-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS), with DA Undersecretary for Operations Ariel Cayanan as chairman and AMAS Director Bernadette San Juan as co-chair.

Also present during the TWG meeting were various agencies and offices: such as Department of Trade and Industry; Department of Agrarian Reform; Department of Environment and Natural Resources; Cooperative Development Authority; Senate; Office of the Presidential Assistant for Education; and DA’s Field Operations Service, Corn Program; National Dairy Authority; Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation; Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards; Agricultural Credit Policy Council; Agricultural Training Institute; Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization; Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources; and Legal Service and Philippine Coconut Authority, among others. ([email protected]/PN)

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