Thursday, May 12, 2011
SENATE OFFICE, Manila, May, 13, 2011-Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, who is current chairman of the Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture bats to work closely with the Department of Agriculture and Malacanang in providing opportunities for those without jobs and displaced OFWs by enjoining them to venture into farming.
“There are a lot of opportunities to be had in farming,” Pangilinan said where he has been going around the country surveying several farms and gathering data, saying that “what is needed is a synergy of the whole chain from the producers to the traders.”
Pangilinan along with the Department of Agriculture and the private sector convened the Agriculture and Fisheries 2025 (AF2025) to address the country’s various agriculture and fisheries issues where they conducted consultation with the representatives from farmers, traders, suppliers and media to craft a long-term plan for agriculture.
“Malacanang has fielded the idea of providing hectares of land for lease to informal settlers, and we feel that this plan should also include OFWs and the millions unemployed in the country. We need to propagate the idea of having ‘farmtreneurs’. This means shifting the paradigm away from the idea of leaving the country for greener pasteurs. The opportunities will be here and Filipinos won’t need to leave the comforts of their motherland,” Pangilinan said, explaining that ‘farmtreneurs’ will be different from how farmers are generally perceived.
“We will build their capacity to earn more by providing them the means to sell their products directly to market via our fellow AF2025 convenors. We also have in AF2025 the built-in network to ensure the sustainability of the project,” he said, adding that having farmtreneurs would also address the need for increased crop output.
DA has reported an unprecedented increase in the harvest of palay this year, however, fisheries and livestock continue to lag behind. “For having ‘farmtreneurs’, this will benefit the whole sector as farming becomes more profitable for them. Increased output is essentially what is needed for food self-sufficiency,” Pangilinan furthered.
“This is an out-of-the box way of approaching decades-old problem of unemployment, poverty, and food self-sufficiency. Under the Aquino administration, this is exactly the proverbial shot in the arm needed to boost further what the DA has accomplished,” he said.
“Our agriculture and fisheries sector deserve recognition,” he ended. (Jason de Asis)
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