Alcala Wants Aggie Extension Workers Back to DA

Department of Agriculture
Office of the Secretary
DILIMAN, Quezon City -- Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala supports moves to re-nationalize devolved agricultural officers and extension workers back to the Department of Agriculture.
“Without the corps of agricultural extension workers and technicians, the Department of Agriculture is like a general without soldiers in the field,” said Sec. Alcala as he replied to queries during his recent three-day visit to Cagayan Valley why the services of the DA are not felt by its target clienteles, the small farmers and fishermen.
“We need to have them back so we could effectively implement the many agricultural and fishery projects that we plan to pursue under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquiino III,” said Alcala before a combined 4,000 farmers, fishers, local officials and other agri-fishery stakeholders who attended the respective farmers’ congress in Cagayan (Aug 30), Isabela (Aug 31) and Nueva Vizcaya (Sept 1).
As called for under the ‘Local Government Code of 1991’ (Republic Act No. 7160), tens of thousands of agricultural officers and extension workers nationwide were devolved or transferred under the direct administrative supervision of their respective local government units where they were assigned in 1991.
Alcala said the DA will vigorously support moves by some congressmen who filed a resolution to repeal RA 7160 and transfer back the agricultural workers under the direct supervision of the DA.
In fact, he said some provincial governors fully support the proposal during the recent meeting of the League of Provinces of the Philippines in Manila. Among them are Albay Governor Joey Salceda and Cagayan Governor Alvaro Antonio
Meanwhile, he said the DA could forge respective agreements with interested provincial and municipal government who are willing to lend back to the DA their receptive agriculture officers and extension workers to implement agri-fishery projects in their localities.
The DA will re-train them to further upgrade their skills and knowledge, including small farmers and fisherfolk, through the DA’s Agriculture Training Institute (ATI). He said the ATI will be enhanced to perform said enormous task.
Since he assumed office in July, Alcala has to date visited four regions (northern and southern Mindanao, Cagayan Valley, and Central Visayas) and intimately shared DA initiatives and his personal thoughts with small farmers, fishers, local officials and other stakeholders. # # # (DA Info Service)