2023 July 24
AGRI GROWTH. Officials from the province of Davao del Sur, Hagonoy local government unit, seed company representatives, and the Department of Agriculture in Davao Region (DA-11) lead the ceremonial planting ceremony of hybrid rice seedlings to the 35-hectare demo farm located in Upper Sinayawan, Hagonoy, Davao del Sur on July 5, 2023. In his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday (July 24, 2023), President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. reported that the country’s agriculture sector has recorded a growth of 2.2 percent in the first quarter of the year.
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday reported that the country’s agriculture sector has recorded a 2.2 percent growth in the first quarter of the year.
During his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa, the Chief Executive noted that times and calibrated importation helped in boosting agricultural produce.
“Our aim is to boost our local agricultural production—through consolidation, modernization, mechanization, and improvement of value chains—augmented by timely and calibrated importation, as needed,” he said.
“We have seen the agriculture sector grow by 2.2 percent in the first three months of this year,” Marcos, who is also Agriculture chief, added.
He also reported the government’s method of achieving food security is now guided by both science and nature.
“In our quest for food security, our methods are now more guided by science and the balance of nature, so that production is both sustainable and responsible, benefiting both this and future generations,” the President said.
Amend some agriculture laws
Marcos also asked Congress to amend the Fisheries Code and Cooperative Code which will be beneficial to stakeholders.
“Our Fisheries Code must be revisited to incorporate and strengthen science-based analysis and determination of fishing areas. This approach will protect both the interests of our fisherfolk and our fisheries and aquatic resources,” he said.
“To this end, we will seek the support of Congress to amend the Code to guarantee sustainable development of our fisheries sector in harmony with environmental balance,” the President added.
To date, the government has clustered groups of farmers and fisherfolk numbering to 300 consisting of almost 900 cooperatives, and with an area of more than 200,000 hectares of farmland.
“In order to speed up and facilitate the formation of the cooperative, we will need the support of Congress to amend the Cooperative Code,” Marcos said.
“Through this, their production and market power will gradually increase. There is truth in the saying: we are stronger when we’re together!” Marcos note.
New technologies, crops
He also noted the use of bio-fertilizers that are made in the country has been proven effective and reliable.
He said the balanced fertilizer strategy will ensure good harvest for farmers.
“Hindi na nila kailangan pang umasa sa mas mahal at imported na fertilizer (They no longer need to expensive and imported fertilizer),” the President said.
Assistance to farmers
Marcos reported that the government has provided over 28,000 modern machines and equipment to farmers across the country.
Under the Department of Agriculture (DA), it has given over 1 million seeds of rice, corn, and various vegetables, over 100,000 seeds of coconut and planted in almost 10,000 hectares of land throughout the country.
“All these seeds are innovative, hybrid, and high quality,” Marcos said.
He noted that the government has also provided fuel and fertilizer discount vouchers to distressed farmers to cushion the price increase in fuel and fertilizer.
The fertilizer donations from China were immediately given to beneficiaries, Marcos added.
The President also warned those unscrupulous individuals and groups engaged in smuggling and hoarding activities.
“One of the reasons for the price increase is smugglers, hoarders and those who manipulate the price of agricultural products. We will pursue and sue them. Their work is simply not right, nor is it compatible with our good purpose,” Marcos said.
“What they do is fraud. Not only the farmers are harmed, but also us, the consumers. So we will not allow this trend. The days of those smugglers and hoarders are numbered,” he added.
The President also noted the importance of infrastructure projects since it will support 14 million hectares of farmlands.
“We have prepared the Geo-Agri map of farm-to-market roads of the entire country, to better connect farms to markets. We have prepared the Geo-Agri map of farm-to-market roads (FMRs) of the entire country, to better connect farms to markets,” he said.
“In line with this, we have laid an additional 600 kilometers of FMRs in different parts of the country. We have also provided irrigation to more than 49,000 hectares of farmland throughout the Philippines. We have made nearly 4,000 additional fabrication labs, production and cold storage facilities available to all,” he added.
The government, together with Congress, has also put up 24 multi-species hatcheries to increase the fish production.
“We are alert to any threat of diseases and pests that may land on crops and livestock. We will soon have effective drugs and vaccines against them. Meanwhile, we strengthen the biosecurity levels of domestic animals as a defense against diseases,” the President said.
El Niño mitigation
Marcos said the national government has put in place measures to mitigate the effects of El Niño or long dry spell, which include preparing buffer stocks and irrigation equipment.
“If necessary, we will even do cloud-seeding to bring rain. Along with all this, we are also urging our people to save water for widespread preparation against the threat of drought,” he said.
“We have installed 6,000 rainwater collection systems across the country, in preparation for the looming dry spell brought about by El Niño,” Marcos added.
Ferdinand Patinio (PNA)