The National Farmers and Fisherfolk Information System (NFFIS), through a web-based data collection system, serves as the platform for the updating of the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) and monitoring of Department of Agriculture’s interventions. With the system, DA will be able to create centralized and nationwide database for farmers and fisherfolks that would support various levels of planning, decision-making, and delivery of interventions for the department.
The database contains information on farmers, farm laborers, and fishermen and their farm parcels. The updated database can significantly improve the delivery of programs and services of the department while making the data available to other agencies that share the same stakeholders as the DA. This project also includes georeferencing of farm parcels to accurately measure the production area and ensure that adequate subsidies are given relative to the needs of farmers and fishers. It also includes the issuance of intervention monitoring cards to registered farmers. The card aims to identify and validate the farmer prior to the release of interventions and other agri-related purposes. This is also to make sure that benefits and interventions are efficiently delivered to the intended beneficiaries of the DA program.
Background and Problem
The Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) has been a helpful targeting tool that pioneered a unified government database in the agriculture and fisheries sector and formed the foundations for sound and effective agricultural support policies and programs. It also served as basis for identifying beneficiaries of the agency’s programs and projects.
However, as with newly formed initiatives, the system has lapses in several important areas such as the absence of list validation, leakages, exclusion of other legitimate agricultural producers, difficulty in linking the registry to other government databases, and ambiguous operational definition of the term ‘farmer’. Also, the data in the RSBSA has not undergone a comprehensive updating. While the database has been updated by cross-matching with existing databases and submissions from local government units, there was no validation conducted nor intensive data gathering to complete the missing information that is required for planning, targeting and implementation. Inclusion in the RSBSA is a requirement and basis for providing financial assistance subsidiary funding, and insurance services for farmers and fisherfolk.
Those registered in the electronic database are given priority in the targeting and implementation of programs in accordance with the special provisions in the General Appropriation Act (GAA). Also, the distribution of interventions using the 10B Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) requires the farmer recipients are listed in the RSBSA. Thus, there is a need for immediate updating of this database.
Solution and Impact
Through collaboration of DA Field Operations Service (FOS), DA Information and Communications Technology Service (ICTS) and the Fisheries Information and Management Center (FIMC) of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the NFFIS was developed to come up with a fast, effective and end-to-end data collection and monitoring system that will ensure and record targeted issuance of all government interventions (loans, seeds, farm inputs, and boats, among others) to farmers and fishers as well as project places where such interventions are located. Since this will enhance the accuracy and functionality of the RSBSA, it is expected that agricultural support interventions from the government will finally be able to capture all farmers and fishermen who legitimately need subsidies and assistance.
The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), for example, can subsidize more farmers and fisherfolks who were not previously on the list. The National Food Authority (NFA), on the other hand, can efficiently determine whether the palay delivered to its buying stations originate from the farmers or was just consolidated by traders who take advantage of the higher government support price. At present, the government uses the data in the RSBSA to target beneficiaries for the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) program led by the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC). The rice farmers list extracted from the database is also used by the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) in the issuance of financial assistance under the RCEF.
In 2018, the Department of Budget Management (DBM) authorized the DA to update the RSBSA. A Special Order was issued for the creation of the NFFIS and the official body to handle RSBSA related concerns. In 2019, a task force was created to fast track the updating of the RSBSA through the NFFIS. The protocols for registration and updating of RSBSA has also been released and issuance of RSBSA Enrollment forms has started in different municipalities. To further enhance the protocols and action plan to update the RSBSA, the DA has requested the assistance of the World Bank. The activities under this technical assistance covers assessment of previous experiences in establishing farmers and fisherfolk database, enhancement of protocols and instruments for the updating of the registry, and action plan for the nationwide rollout.