Help for farmers and fishermen
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The Department of Agriculture is launching the National Farmers and Fishermen Database (NFFD) this quarter to better identify beneficiaries of its credit programs, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in a Facebook postrecently.
Piñol said the NFFD will use information technology to store information about every farmer and fisherman in the country, including the geotagged location of their farms and houses. “It will also indicate what interventions he has received from government, like loans, seeds, boats, farm inputs and others, and the results of the interventions,” he added.
The program will also include the economic profile of the family at the start of the interventions, specifically its poverty level, and monitoring improvements after two years.
Piñol said he expects the program to effectively assist the DA in targeting the real beneficiaries of its programs, especially the Easy Access Credit Program under the Agricultural Credit Policy Council. It will also weed out fake farmers who take advantage of the government’s assistance by presenting themselves as beneficiaries.
Additionally, the National Food Authority can also benefit from the data of the NFFD as it will be able to determine whether the palay delivered to its buying stations really came from the farmer or was just consolidated by traders who like to take advantage of the higher government support price.
The NFFD will also accurately record all transactions made by the farmer with the NFA and what incentives he will receive, including the recording of his loans under the Cash Advance Credit Program and the payments he has made. A cash advance system for farmers can slowly liberate them from the loan sharks that prey on them and hinder the improvement of rice production in the country.
It is high time that the Department of Agriculture makes better use of information technology to deliver its mandate and raise the agricultural output of the country, which will ultimately benefit farmers and their families while at the same time addressing the nation’s food security concerns. The DA needs to ensure the NFFD is implemented properly so the farmers and fishermen of the country, as well as those who partake of the bounty of their harvests, can enjoy their benefits soon.*