Barangay Agricultural Extension Workers (BAEW)play a key role in food production


With abundant production of highland vegetables, Benguet played an important role during the
height of Covid-19 pandemic, through its farmers, it assured supply of agricultural commodities.   In times of calamities, vegetable produced are delivered as relief to victims. Agriculture impacts local community in many ways supporting livelihoods through food production, jobs generation,   providing  raw materials for food and other products; and building strong economies through trade and marketing.

Benguet gardens supply about 85 percent of temperate vegetables daily to Metro Manila and nearby provinces, and parts of Visayas and Mindanao. Tourists as well as domestic visitors admired the freshness and quality of agricultural products by local farmers such as cauliflower cabbage- lettuce green beans, among others, and made  farmers proud.

According to Delinia Juan, acting head of the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (Benguet) said ,to date, there are 80 thousand farmers, tilling  a total effective area of 61,064.45 he that include more than 47 thousand hectares dedicated to vegetables, the widest compared to areas planted for palay ,crops, cut flowers and fruits trees. In 2021, local vegetable farmers total production posted at 1.172 million metric tons (mt).

Behind the daily hard work of Benguet farmers, volunteers from the so called Barangay Agricultural Extension Workers (BAEW)share their quality time and skills. The province has a total of 140 barangays from the 13 municipalities. In  a chance interview with Anilyn Tiongan of Barangay Lubas, La Trinidad, herself a volunteer BAEW said: “ Farming has been our way of life, starting from  our great grand parents, helping educate our local farmers so that they can help themselves by way of linking them with research based information to improve production has been a passion and commitment.”

Tiongan, an active official of La Trinidad Coffee Arabica Producer’s Association ( LATACPA),
widely known as producer of quality coffee beans,added:” our work involve facilitating farmers’
group formation and advice in order that our local farmers come up with better decisions to increase production.”

She added that her volunteer work also include -promoting ,collaboration in the implementation of projects and programs from the national government as well as local government units like in La Trinidad. Tiongan underscored the vital role of women in building the community by way of active participation in the on going Strawberry Festival, assisting at Leah’s Resto Café booth at the same time, promoting the sweetness of strawberries and it’s added value.


Since the passage of local government code in 1991, agriculture service is one of the functions
devolved to local government units (lgu). Also  local farmers  are not spared of  pressing problems like climate change, supply chain, access to financing and new farming technologies. Twenty-nine years after devolution, the provincial council of Benguet passed an ordinance 2020-269 which established and institutionalized  Barangay Agricultural Extension Workers (BAEW) Program and granted incentives with source of funds derived from the Office of Governor Melchor Diclas which under his administration, the province has been a recipient of various national awards good governance topping the list.

The provincial ordinance recognized agriculture industry as driving force in the local economy
and by providing barangay volunteers in agriculture, it promotes not only national government’s
agricultural programs and policies but for municipalities as well. To date, there are 132 volunteer workers (BAEW) spread in the 140 total barangays of the province.

These volunteer workers are partners of agricultural development in the 13 municipalities of the province. The OPAG revealed that currently, 69k farmers are now under the agriculture department’s Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) program, out of the 80k total number of farmers in the province.

The RSBSA aims to be a reliable source of data information to be used as basis/reference in the
implementation of various programs as well as the formulation and evaluation of polices of DA.
Juan recognized the efforts by the national government, the province and lgus in the development
of agriculture and support to local farmers.

To sustain the province’ food security program, she appealed that more BAEW should be deployed in the barangays-the backbone of local economy. A recent study conducted by Benguet State University (BSU), Benguet has one barangay agricultural extension worker for every 6,000 farmers (1:6,000). Ideally, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recommends 1: 500 farmers in response to global for security challenges.

Primo Agatep/ABN

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