BAGUIO CITY – The professionalization of the agriculture department coupled with the crafting of the appropriate strategies that will significantly improve productivity of the farmers will be instrumental in uplifting the state of the country’s agriculture sector in order to become one of the major economic drivers, Valenzuela City 1st district Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian said here recently.
The Manila-based lawmaker said politicians have no place in the DA hierarchy because agriculture development programs and projects have no directions and supposed long-term solutions to improve the productivity of farmers will not be put in place because political alignment will be the premier consideration in decision-making.
“We have to professionalize the leadership of the agriculture department so that short, medium and long-term solutions to the country’s agriculture will be put in place for the benefit of the farmers,” Gatchalian stressed.
The lawmaker underscored the need for the crafting of the appropriate interventions in order to address the plight of farmers for availability of government interventions that will help in improving their productivity that will translate to higher income and better living condition for their families.
According to him, the country has available lands for agriculture production which must be maximized in order for farmers to be able to improve their living condition through the availability of sufficient government assistance that will translate to robust agriculture development in the future.
Gatchalian recommended instead of spending meagre amounts for agriculture in the annual budget, the next administration must infuse at least 10 to 15 percent of the national budget purposely for agriculture in order to make farmers feel the presence of government interventions geared towards uplifting the state of agriculture nationwide.
It was learned that for this year, the national government earmarked only P80 billion for agriculture which is slightly lower than 3 percent of the national budget.
He explained one of the major sources of income of the people in the country is agriculture, thus, the need for the agriculture department to prioritize programs that will provide farmers with the basic skills and knowledge for them to use in improving the production of their farms.
He claimed priority interventions must be provided based on the need of the agriculture sector in certain parts of the country so that there will be a balanced production of various types of crops that will also mean food security for the country and the availability of food on the table of every Filipino family.
He said the next administration has a lot of homework to do in the crafting of long-term programs in order to advance the country’s agriculture, thus, Filipinos must learn to be wise voters and put to their positions those who will fork for the welfare of Filipinos.
By Dexter A. See