Direct government purchase of rice and other agricultural produce should be the template for new normal in agriculture, said Senator Kiko Pangilinan.
This is following the success story of the Camarines Sur Multi-Purpose Cooperative that reported, during the pandemic, an almost nine-fold increase in year-on-year sales from 2019 to 2020 due to the direct purchase of rice by local government units (LGUs).
“Ito ang diwa ng Sagip Saka. Nakikita na kapag ang gobyerno ang pumasok at sinigurong bibilhin ang produktong pang-agrikultura kagaya ng bigas, siguradong tataas ang kita ng ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda,” Pangilinan said.
The veteran legislator is the principal author of the Sagip Saka Act which allows LGUs and national government agencies to purchase directly from farmers, fisherfolk, and accredited farm enterprises.
The Camarines Sur Multi-Purpose Cooperative reported it had P62.4 million in sales so far in 2020 due to direct purchases by LGUs.
During the online dialogue in Bicol, the Camarines Sur Multi-Purpose Cooperative reported that it had P62.4 million in sales so far in 2020 due to direct purchases by LGUs.
“Lumaki po bigla ngayong 2020 dahil marami kaming sinuplay sa mga LGU. Umaabot po ng 3,881 bags of rice ang aming nabenta sa mga LGUs sa iba’t ibang lalawigan ng Bicol para maging parte ng relief operations nila noong ECQ at GCQ,” said Annielen Panerio, general manager of the Camarines Sur Multi-Purpose Cooperative.
This is a noticeable increase from their sales in 2019 which amounted to P7.3 million that Panerio said the cooperative sold to the private sector. The difference in sales between 2019 and 2020 has so far been as much as P55 million.
“Ito na talaga dapat ang template para sa new normal sa agrikultura. Kahit wala nang pandemya, dapat patuloy pa rin ang direktang pagbili ng mga LGU sa mga kooperatiba para sa kanilang mga progama kagaya ng feeding programs,” the seasoned lawmaker stressed.
“Kung ang nangyari sa Cam Sur na times 9 halos ang tinaas ng kita ng coop ay mangyayari rin sa iba’t iba pang parte ng Pilipinas, maiaangat natin ang kabuhayan ng ating mga magsasaka pati na rin ang mga mangingisda,” the senator added.
Ana Viñas, 41, rice farmer from Concepcion Grande, Camarines Sur, and member of the cooperative, plans to roll her earnings through the cooperative, which not only bought her produce, but also provided her seeds and fertilizer.
The Camarines Sur Multi-Purpose Cooperative has over 2,400 members, mostly rice farmers covering almost 3,000 hectares of farm land.
The Camarines Sur Multi-Purpose Cooperative is based in Cadlan, Pili, Camarines Sur.
Consisting of over 2,400 members, most of its members are rice farmers covering almost 3,000 hectares of farm land.
Vice President Leni Robredo also attended the online dialogue where she explained how Sagip Saka gave the projects of her office in Camarines Sur the much-needed legislative backing.
“Noong ako ay congresswoman, isa sa aming naging problema ay kung paano i-ju-justify na bibili ang mga LGU sa mga farmers. Dahil wala pang batas noon, paano ito magagawa? Na-delay pa ang launch ng mga programa namin dahil sa problemang ito. Kaya noong 16th Congress, ito talaga ang hinanap namin: isang batas na magsasabing pwede nang bumili direkta ang LGU sa mga magsasaka,” Robredo said in Bikolano.
“Kaya noong naipasa na ang Sagip Saka, naging malaking tulong ito dahil ang hindi pwede noon, pwede na ngayon. Kailangan lang mamaximize ang batas dahil maraming mga LGU pa rin ang hindi nakakaalam na pwede na ito,” she added.
The Vice President also said that the Camarines Sur Multi-Purpose cooperative is one of their earliest partners for their pro-farmer programs.
The online consultation Bicol is the fourth in a series spearheaded by the Office of Senator Kiko Pangilinan. Earlier consultations were held in Cagayan de Oro City, Pampanga, and Iloilo.
Pangilinan recently co-sponsored Senate Bill 1855 mandating the establishment of a Cooperative Development Officer in LGUs. He said this will boost and empower cooperatives, especially in agriculture, through direct and focused coordination with local agencies and officials.