Summit focuses on agri-fishery, forestry investment opportunities

NCI-SRD national focal person Angel Enriquez presents the accomplishments of convergence initiatives and complementation efforts of DA-DAR-DENR-DILG agencies during the Summit held at The Mansion in Iloilo City.

THE 2019 National Convergence Initiative for Rural Development (NCI-SRD) Summit themed “Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (AFF)-Enterprise: Investment Opportunities for Inclusive Growth in the Countryside,” aims to expand joint initiatives of various government agencies.

The summit jointly organized by the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) aims to hasten investment opportunities that will help develop the rural areas.

Around 400 rural development stakeholders composed of government, private sectors and other development partners gathered during the Summit held at The Mansion in Iloilo City on July 24.

“This sector is the best pathway toward inclusive growth that can produce sustainable livelihood and income opportunities in the countryside,” said NCI-SRD national focal person Angel Enriquez.

In achieving this goal, Enriquez mentioned said it is imperative to address the issues and challenges of the sector such as the lack of security in land tenure which restricts investments, low productivity, unavailability of market information,n and degradation of national resources because of the adverse impact of climate change.

As the lead convenor of the convergence initiatives, the DA seeks to improve food security and rural income, boosting the sector’s resilience to climate change threats as well as enhancing its policy environment and governance.

“We have to do more to truly make an impact on the lives of agri-fishery stakeholders,” added Enriquez.

He said that Farm to Market Roads (FMR), Solar-Powered Irrigation System (SSIP), post-harvest facilities, logistics and transport and Easy Access Credit were among the five impact projects of the DA that will build strong agri-fishery sector and strengthen a more productive rural economy.

DAR Secretary John Castriciones (right) and DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu sign the Revised Joint Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 2019 to renew their agency’s commitments and to intensify the implementation framework of the NCI-SRD.

Also, one of the DA’s priorities is the implementation of agribusiness marketing strategy that directly links farmers and fisherfolks to the market and promotion of agri-investments and technical assistance to improve the agri-based enterprises in the country.

“It is our goal to transform farmers and fishers, particularly the smallholders into prosperous job generating entrepreneurs,” Enriquez quipped.

DILG-6 Regional Director Ariel Iglesia, who represented Secretary Eduardo Año, together with DAR Secretary John Castriciones and DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu presented their respective agency’s initiatives in achieving the NCI-SRD goals in pursuit of rural growth and development and poverty reduction in the rural areas.

The guests included Iloilo City Vice-Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon, Atty. Rhaegee Tamana of the Office of Senator Cynthia Villar and Maria Alfreda Fajardo of the Iloilo provincial government also expressed their support to the national convergence initiatives.

One of the summit’s highlights was the ceremonial signing of DA-DAR-DENR-DILG Revised Joint Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 2019, which renewed the commitments of rural development agencies and intensified the implementation framework with the Local Government Units.

Another highlight is the product exhibit showcasing the AFF enterprise clusters in the convergence areas that implemented the ridge-to-reef approach. The exhibitors came from the Regional Convergence Initiative focus areas of the 16 regions.

The NCI-SRD also celebrated its 20 years of committed existence towards rural development in the countryside. (Myleen S. Subang/DA-RAFIS-6/ Photos courtesy of Denmark Prayco Joan Capaciete and DILG-6 team)