Tuesday, June 15, 2010
‘Sustainable practices’ top farm sector’s wish list to Noynoy
With the proclamation of Sen. Benigno Aquino III as the new President of the Republic of the Philippines, farmers and experts hope that the new administration will address the woes that have befallen the agriculture sector.
Rice Watch Action Network lead convenor Jessica Reyes-Cantos said she hopes that the Aquino administration will focus on the promotion of sustainable agriculture practices.
“The new leadership should also ensure sufficient budget support for the agriculture sector,” said Cantos in a telephone interview.
Corn farmers, led by the Philippine Maize Federation (Philmaize), said they hope that the new administration will “embrace national food security.”
“We trust that President Noynoy Aquino...will expand agriculture production and postharvest support, expand access to credit by the agriculture sector with minimal interest charges, and support the full implementation of commodity electronic trading for rice, corn and sugar,” said Philmaize president Roger Navarro in a text message.
Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc. president Albert Lim Jr. said he hopes that the new government will do away with its tendency of importing food every time local producers suffer production cuts.
“[We hope] that the new President will consider stopping the importation of carabeef from India,” said Lim in a text message.
Univeristy of Asia and the Pacific’s executive director for Center for Food and Agribusiness Dr. Rolando Dy said the new administration should focus on halving rural poverty by increasing farm incomes.
“[The new administration should also] create jobs through public and private investments, and improve access to markets, education and health services,” said Dy in a text message.
For years, the farm sector has had to contend with low budgetary allocation owing to the failure of past administrations to provide the funding required by the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (Afma) of 1997.
The lack of budgetary support, according to experts, had been one of the major stumbling blocks to the failure of the farm sector to increase productivity and its competitiveness.
Earlier, Alyansa Agrikultura chairman Ernesto Ordoñez noted that the agriculture sector should have been receiving some P30 billion annually after the first year of Afma’s implementation.
“This never happened. It’s only in the last two years that the [Arroyo administration] was able to set aside that much money to the sector,” said Ordoñez in an earlier telephone interview.
By Business Mirror
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