DA unveils Web, mobile app to boost support services to farmers

The government, through the Department of Agriculture (DA) has launched a Web and mobile application meant to fast-track interventions needed for farmers to be more productive.

John Pagaduan, officer-in-charge of the DA’s Information and Communications Technology Service (DA-ICTS), said “Task Force Juan Magsasaka” can pave the way for a fast and effective standard reporting system that monitors the interventions of the DA to the farmer-beneficiaries.

“We are finalizing the guidelines and protocols for the system, which will include the users’ training up to LGU (local government unit level,” he said.

Pagaduan said TF Juan Magsasaka is part of the digitalization initiatives of the DA, which include geotagging, geo-referencing of all farm parcels, and the efficient end-to-end monitoring tool of all interventions distributed to farmer and fisherfolk beneficiaries.

“Actual registration process was put into test during the launching of Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) program in Malimono, Surigao del Sur; onion farmers’ registration in Bongabon, Nueva Ecija and LGU-based farmers’ registration in M’lang, North Cotabato,” he noted.

The DA said that with this program, the National Food Authority (NFA) will be able to determine whether the palay delivered to its buying stations really came from the farmers, or was just consolidated by traders who would like to take advantage of the higher government support price.

The Web and mobile-based application will accurately record all transactions made by a particular farmer with the NFA, and what incentives he will receive, including the recording of his loans under “Cash Advance” Credit Program and the payments he has made, it added.

All the information contained in the database of the NFFD will only be accessible to the President, the DA Secretary, and key officials of government and the agencies implementing interventions.

The program uses modern information technology to identify each and every farmer and fisherman in the country and determine whether he has been assisted by government.

The National Farmers and Fisherman’s Database (NFFD) will store information about the farmer and fisherman, including the geo-tagged location of his farm and house.

It will also indicate what interventions he has received from the government like loans, seeds, boats, farm inputs and others, and the results of the interventions.

The program will also include the economic profile of the family at the start of the interventions, specifically the poverty level, and monitor improvements after two years.

TF Juan Magsasaka also aims to update the National Farmers and Fisheries Information System (NFFIS), which will be part of the official Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).

The RSBSA will serve as the official and legitimate list of the beneficiaries of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), which was created following the signing of President Rodrigo Duterte of the Rice Tariffication law.

RCEF beneficiaries include rice farmers and farmworkers and their dependents listed in the RSBSA. The DA, in consultation with farmers’ cooperatives and organizations, and LGUs shall validate and update the existing RSBSA to ensure that those listed are legitimate farmers and farm workers.

It will also weed out “fake farmers” who usually take advantage of the government’s assistance to farmers by presenting themselves as beneficiaries. — Lilybeth Ison (PNA)

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