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AGRI PARTY-LIST LAUDS PBBM’S AGRI PRIORITIZATION

AGRI Party-list Rep. Wilbert Lee lauded President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. (PBBM) for prioritizing the agriculture sector in his State of the Nation Address on July 25.

“Agriculture is a gut issue. Literal na nagugutom ang mga kababayan natin dahil sa walang kasiguruhan ang pagkain—patuloy na tumataas ang presyo nito, at nalulugmok sa utang dahil sa sunod-sunod na sakuna at mahal na input ang mga magsasaka’t mangingisda. Dapat tutukan ang isyung ito, kaya nararapat lang na mismong ang pangulo ang mangunguna sa pagtugon dito,” Lee, a member of the minority, said.

Lee expressed support for the government’s plan to provide farmers with easier access to farm input products to lessen the cost of farming.

Marcos, who has taken over the government’s agriculture portfolio, vowed to modernize the country’s agriculture in his SONA.

“Ipa-prayoridad natin ang modernisasyon ng mga sakahan sa pamamagitan ng mga makabagong teknolohiya para sa ating mga magsasaka. Ating palalawakin ang mga palaisdaan, babuyan at manukan (We will prioritize the modernization of farms through the utilization of modernized technology for our farmers. We will expand our fisheries, livestock, and poultry),” he said. 

“Lahat ng ito, gagamitan ng siyensya para tumaas ang produksyong agrikultural. Maging ang post-production processing ay susuportahan ng pamahalaan (In all of these, science will be used to increase agricultural production. Even the post-production processing will be supported by the government),” Marcos added.

Lee expressed support for the government’s plan to provide farmers with easier access to farm input products to lessen the cost of farming.

He added that the government should also consider enticing private companies to enter into agreements with farmers.

Lee had filed earlier this month House Bill No. 1296, or An Act Promoting Corporative Farming and Providing Incentives for its Effective Implementation, which aims to encourage “corporative farming.” Corporative farming is a portmanteau of corporate and cooperative farming.  

The bill seeks to establish partnerships between farming organizations and communities with domestic corporations, where the former supply labor, expertise, and/or their landholdings while the latter provide the necessary capital and guarantee the purchase of the harvest.

Lee had filed earlier this month House Bill No. 1296, or An Act Promoting Corporative Farming and Providing Incentives for its Effective Implementation, which aims to encourage “corporative farming.” Corporative farming is a portmanteau of corporate and cooperative farming.  

“Through corporative farming, companies can help their employees cope with the rising cost of goods by providing rice, while also helping farmers by eliminating predatory middlemen and allowing them to sell their products at decent prices,” said the lawmaker.

In addition, the measure could help boost the National Food Administration’s buffer stock, as any excess in supply would be sold to the attached agency, he added. 

The solon expressed hope that Congress would prioritize the said bill, which he said could lead to immediate benefits for employees and farmers. 

“Pending the bill’s enactment, I also hope that the administration will already start enlisting private companies to participate in this endeavor,” Lee also said.

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