Just keep on talking
CHARM-2 Project tackles implementation issues on OA
by Jayralyn Siddayao
o clarify what you have said, you must say it again and yet again. And again? Yes, that is the cardinal rule in public speaking.
People in government, particularly those with the CHARM-2 Project of the Department of Agriculture (DA), seem too familiar with that rule. After communicating the project document to various stakeholders, they stick to the same document in responding to queries from within and the general public with regards project implementation.
Now on its third year of operation, the project staffs have been talking about the same thing really- the project, the project and the project.
But with all the passion and intrigues that go with it, I guess the talks have never gone down as to become boring sessions.
Here’s how I experienced one of these CHARM-2 sessions. I understand that the CHARM-2 Project has conducted several of these talk sessions with its partners since its launching March 2009.
During the Project Information and Education Campaign (IEC) and policy dialogue cum technology and market encounter held at the Supreme Hotel, Baguio City, the participants in these session brought out a myriad of issues making it appear that project implementation, at this stage is still unsettled.
The participants of the said IEC are all from co- implementing agencies as follows: PPDC, OPAG, PVET, OMAG, PAFC/RAFC, CHARM –NGO, other NGOs like SEEDS, COADC, OISCA ,LaTOP, DA-RFU-CAR, BPI and CHARM-PSO.
One of the issues laid on the table concerns the possible creation of ordinances supportive of organic farming by the Local Government Units (LGUs) from the provincial level down to the barangays. As the discussions wore on, it dawned on me that the issue cannot be settled by a simple yes or no but to sustain more talks of the same. Following the project’s participatory process, the issue can only reach a desired fruitition with CHARM-2 and the LGUs standing together in promoting organic farming in project areas. Following the project document, they must continue talking and pursue agreed actions that would ultimately lead them to the declaration of organic barangays.”
Another pertains to the provision of cash incentives to the LGU personnel involved in project implementation. The participants stressed that the DA provides cash incentives to Agricultural Technicians (ATs) under the banner program while CHARM-2 does not provide such incentive.
Here again, talk and more of it is being encouraged. The exercise is viewed to ultimately result in a levelling-off between the DA-RFU-CAR, CHARM-2 and LGUs in the provision of a unified incentive or an agreement favourable to all parties in the provision of incentives to include travelling expenses per diems. Meanwhile, the interest of the beneficiaries of the project must be attended to fully.
It was also observed that the efforts of the government sector and the private sector towards the promotion of organic agriculture are not consolidated. “Now, CHARM-2 makes it a point to involve concerned LGUs and NGOs in its organic agriculture IECs including farmers trainings. The project seeks to foster a closer coordination by both sectors in the implementation and promotion of organic agriculture in the region as the project progresses. That too is mandated by the project.
Complaints that government funding support for Research and Development (R & D) to organic farming is limited compared to conventional farming has led CHARM-2 to look into this concern in the implementation of its adaptive research activities.
These are several issues raised during the Project IEC sessions on organic agriculture, as if CHARM-2 is the only entity that can solve them. Of course not. Through this endeavour, the project succeeded in making stakeholder of organic agriculture in surfacing these issues. Some of the issues will continue to be delivered by the CHARM 2 Project provided with solutions. The others will be fodder for future talking sessions in other venues. What is good about CHARM-2 sessions like this is that you must be ready to talk and willing to listen. //