Senator Edgardo J. Angara proposed major agricultural reforms to keep pace with the country's rising demand for food due to a burgeoning population--post-harvest network, better logistics, access to credit for small farmers, protection of our export market and improved research development (R&D).
"In three years, our population will reach 100 million and we have to find ways to feed all of them. One major agricultural reform the government should undertake is the installation of post-harvest facilities all over the country as we are losing enough agricultural products that could have made up for our importations," the former Agriculture Secretary suggested.
Angara stressed that a post-harvest network will reduce the country's losses in palay by as much as one million tons, or the equivalent of our yearly rice import which costs the government US$500 million.
Angara also underscored the need to develop a sound transport and logistics infrastructure in order to facilitate easy transport of agricultural products from the provinces to Manila. "The lobsters in Aurora are dying of old age because we can't bring them to Manila due to lack of access."
He also called on the government to extend reasonable loans to small farmers as he emphasized that credit is essential to the growth of our agricultural sector.
Aside from that, Angara also urged the government to enter into bilateral trade agreements with other countries in order to protect our market and to ensure the protection of our goods. "Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia are quick to protect their market and they are now reaping the benefits of a secure export market."
Lastly, Angara reiterated the need to prioritize research and development (R&D), emphasizing that the agricultural sector will only expand through technology. "Technology will save us, it is the key to enriching our seas, expanding our land and increasing our yield. We must constantly develop new varieties and practices to improve productivity."
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