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by Sheila Mae H. Toreno

ILOILO CITY, September 29, 2020 — The institutionalization of the agricultural information system province-wide is among the digital programs being introduced now by the Provincial Government of Iloilo to help reboot the local economy amidst the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Iloilo Governor Arthur R. Defensor Jr. led on Sep. 28 the launching of the Provincial Agri-fishery Information System (PAIS) that intends to help in the marketing of agricultural products of the local farmers through the aid of a digital-based application developed by the municipal government of Mina.

‚ÄúSang tiempo nga naga-ECQ kita, di ba indi kita ka-guwa, ang mga tawo naga-transaksyon sa internet. Nakit-an naton ang importansya sang sining PAIS,‚ÄĚ said Defensor.

House Bill No. 6721 filed early this year by Representative Lorenz Defensor and other committee members aims to establish an Agricultural Information System (AIS) in all cities and municipalities nationwide.

PAIS, as a computer-based system, will work by gathering agri production data from the barangay level, consolidated at the municipal level and further consolidated at the provincial level to obtain actual data of the production levels of commodities produced in the province.

With the integration of existing systems of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the AIS will also merge agricultural data from the different sources into a database aiming to facilitate linkages with all stakeholders in the value chain.

Consequently, the system will help resolve the marketing problems of the local farmers during peak of the harvest season and will enable higher productivity among farmers despite the community quarantine measures.

Defensor lauded the efforts of the LGU Mina through  former municipal mayor Lydia Grabato for initiating a system that will be a significant tool in helping the farming sector thrives as the community transitions to the new normal.

Local chief executives and their representatives present during the launching had pledged to support the replication of the Municipal Agri-fishery Information System (MAIS) FARMS of Mina to 43 LGUs in Iloilo.

Former municipal mayor Lydia Grabato of Mina said that among the eight strategic programs of Iloilo focuses on the improvement of farm households through improved agricultural productivity thus, the implementation of PAIS- data can help speed up the implementation.

‚ÄúMay budget na kita. It is the province who will release to each municipality a set of computers that will be dedicated to PAIS,‚ÄĚ Defensor said.

The Iloilo Provincial Government (IPG) Local Economic Development and Investment Promotion Center will work hand in hand with the Mina AIS for the installation of the database software, and training of municipal LGUs on the system operation.

Alongside with PAIS, the provincial government is also pushing for the Reverse Isolation and Contract Tracing Application meant to supplement the conventional contact tracing efforts of the national government.

‚ÄúIt is a massive prevention and control measure against COVID-19,‚ÄĚ said Defensor. He enjoins LGU leaders and the national government agencies to support the digital programs being carried out by the provincial government to spur economic revival amidst the global health emergency.