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Date Posted September 09 2016

THE FPA, AS a regulatory agency, started as a small agency back in the 70’s…today, as we celebrate our 39th year, we have expanded in terms of services and functions, facilities, and manpower…we are here to do our best and to serve you better.”

These words marked the opening of the 39th anniversary celebration of the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) on May 30, 2016 as Executive Director Norlito R. Gicana officially welcomed the guests and participants to the annual gathering held at the Conference Hall, FPA Building, BAI Compound, Diliman, Quezon City. Themed “FPA @ 39: Kaalaman ng mga Magsasaka Mahalaga Para sa Kalusugan, Kasaganaan at Kaginhawaan ng Lahat”, the one-day activity also aimed to highlight the importance of capacitating the grassroots level, particularly the farmers, as their success in crop productivity through proper plant nutrition and pest management can advance the nation’s health, welfare and food security. But the success in farming communities will not be fully achieved without the expertise and technical support from the government and the industry. Gracing the celebration of this success were Honorable Fredelita ‘Edel’ C. Guiza, Secretary of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (OPAFSAM); Dr. Romulo G. Davide, Program Director of Farmer-Scientist Training Program (FSTP),

Chairman of the Pesticide Policy Technical Advisory Committee (PPTAC), and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee; and Dr. Ma. Theresa S. Cucueco, Executive Director of the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Furthermore, officials and representatives from the country’s major industry players including the CropLife Philippines, Crop Protection Association of the Philippines (CPAP), Philippine Integrated Crop Management Association (PICMA), Fertilizer Industry Association of the Philippines (FIAP), and other associations also joined the festivity. In her anniversary message, Sec. Guiza said that due to the collaborative efforts of the OPAFSAM and FPA and through the establishment of the Strategic Performance Management System (SPMS), the Agency has now “developed a results-based performance culture…There’s coordination and connectivity, computerized operations, harmonization with global standards, and upgrading”. Towards the end of her speech, Sec. Guiza said, “now, we’re ending our term, a new administration is coming in. But I am very, very confident that you can do it because the basic foundations have been built. And I know that with all the challenges, your regulatory function will continue to be done in an innovative and excellent manner”. FSTP: Poor farmers no more “Hanggang ngayon, ang ating farmers ay pobre parin (Until now, our farmers are still poor),” said Dr. Davide as he began his presentation titled “Forcing Poor Farmers to Get Rich through the Farmer-Scientist Training Program (FSTP)”. FSTP is an agricultural research, development and extension (RDE) scheme that brings the scientific knowledge and methodologies of farming to the grassroots level with the goal to improve farm productivity and livelihood. Dr. Davide is the program’s proponent.

So, how can farmers get rich through the FSTP? This program enables farmers to perform experiments in the field and to ascertain new and effective agricultural strategies in order to upsurge farm production. Also, more revenue comes in as these farmers are capacitated with organization and marketing principles and techniques. “There is no such thing as barren soil, only barren minds,” said Dr. Davide as he emphasized the importance of ceaseless extension, learning, and application of scientific knowledge that could empower the Filipino farmers and remove them from the state of poverty and marginalization. Healthy and safe farmers “In your quest for productivity, do not forget about safety and health,” said Dr. Cucueco as she opened her discussion on “Health and Safety Practices in Farms”. The presentation tackled 1) statistics on injuries and illnesses in agriculture caused by unsafe farming practices; 2) highlights of the OSHC study in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) which stressed the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE); 3) occupational safety and health standards (OSHS) relative to the proper handling and storage of fertilizers and pesticides; and the issues on chemical safety in line with the Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labelling Chemicals (GHS). Recognition of loyal service and talents In light of the loyal service of eight FPA staff, an awarding ceremony was held to inspire appreciation and motivation among the entire FPA family. The awarding of plaques, certificates and flower bouquets was led by Dir. Gicana and Ms. Elizabeth T. Ramiro, Chief of the Finance and Administrative Division (FAD). Inspired by the annual local festivity Flores De Mayo, the FPA held a flower-inspired sing-and- dance contest to recognize the talented singers and dancers among the FPA staff. To add more fun in the anniversary celebration, games and raffle were held toward the end of the gathering.