MAKATI CITY, Philippines – The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), in partnership with the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA), organized the 2nd National Project Steering Committee (NPSC) Meeting of the Philippine component of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-funded project Agricultural Transformation and Market Integration in the ASEAN Region: Responding to Food Security and Inclusiveness Concerns (ATMI-ASEAN) on 26 April 2019 at the Dusit Thani Manila hotel, here.
The meeting was conducted to update the NPSC members and the ATMI-ASEAN project implementers on the status of the national-level policy study on Value Chain Analysis of Selected Pork-based Processed Products in Luzon, Philippines being conducted by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), and to discuss the forthcoming activities of the project that would involve the Philippine team.
The NPSC is chaired by the DA Assistant Secretary for Planning and Project Development and Special Projects, Mr. Lerey A. Panes, who in his Welcome Remarks, emphasized the value of the inputs from the NPSC in providing general direction and guidance for the implementation of the ATMI-ASEAN Project at the national level. He acknowledged the timeliness of this meeting given the challenges that the industry and the agriculture sector are currently facing. He enjoined the members to contribute to the discussion of the results and to impart recommendations from the perspective of their respective agencies and institutions.
Mr. Jerry E. Pacturan, IFAD's Country Programme Officer for the Philippines and Myanmar, delivered a short message. He said that grants like the ATMI-ASEAN Project are meant to harvest knowledge products that will support the investments projects of IFAD. While the chosen commodity for ATMI Philippines, pork, is not among the priority commodities of other IFAD projects in the country, Mr. Pacturan believes that the experiences, processes, and approach in this project will contribute to the portfolio of IFAD Philippines.
The progress of the policy study was then presented by the lead researcher, Mr. Cenon D. Elca, Assistant Professor of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics (DAAE), College of Economics and Management (CEM) of UPLB. In his presentation, Mr. Elca discussed the initial findings of the study from the surveys and key informant interviews they conducted. He also shared to the NPSC the project activities planned until October 2019. The NPSC members then gave their comments and suggestions on the study during the general discussion.
Prior to closing, Mr. Jimmy B. Williams, ATMI-ASEAN Project Support Unit (PSU) Coordinator, presented the forthcoming activities of the project following the completion of the policy study. Specifically, these are the policy roundtables and technical assistance activities to be organized for the development of the roadmap of pork-based processed products and the national strategic plan of action (N-SPA).
In his closing remarks, Asec. Panes stressed the importance of Philippine government agencies to see eye-to-eye in view of the ASEAN integration and competition from other countries. He thanked the NPSC members for their participation and contributions toward the successful implementation of this undertaking.
Currently, the Philippine NPSC is composed of representatives from the DA, specifically, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Project Development and Special Projects, the DA-International Affairs Division, and DA-Policy Research Service; Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI); Agricultural Training Institute (ATI); Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF); National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS); UPLB; Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), a member of the Asian Farmers' Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA); Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia (AsiaDHRRA); Grow Asia and its national platform Philippine Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture (PPSA).
The project implementers were represented by, Ms. Aniq Fadhillah, ATMI-ASEAN Policy Facilitator of IFPRI, and Ms. Bernice Anne C. Darvin, Program Specialist of the Research and Development Department (RDD), together with the ATMI-ASEAN PSU on behalf of SEARCA. (Loise Ann M. Carandang)