By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Risa Hontiveros has underscored the importance of
boosting the agricultural sector, saying that it plays a ‘leading
role’ in national economic recovery amid the economic recession and
“Agriculture and agri-related sub-sectors continue to be a huge
influence on other sectors of the economy. Lulubog at lilitaw ang
kapalaran ng ibang mga sektor, depende kung ano ang mangyayari sa
agri,” she said during the Senate budget deliberations for the
Department of Agriculture (DA).
“The food manufacturing sector in particular is potentially still a
large employer and destination of foreign and domestic investments.
Kailangan nating alagaan ang sektor na ito na tila nabansot at
napabayaan,” Hontiveros furthered.
According to Hontiveros, proposals to boost the agriculture budget
should be supported to ensure the restoration of the livelihood of hog
raisers affected by swine flu, minimize the importation of
agricultural products and bolster the ability of farmers and fishers
and the country’s food production to be able to withstand the effects
of climate change.
She then asked the Senate to provide more budget to support corn
production and fisheries to strategically develop the sectors and
provide assistance to farmers and fishers in response to the proposal
to import fish and corn, an issue which was brought up during the
budget hearing of the agency in the House of Representatives.
“Pinag-uusapan nitong nakaraan ang pag-angkat ng isda at mais. Saang
probinsya o rehiyon ba kailangang may malaking public investment sa
mais at pangisdaan para hindi na kailangang mag-import at maisalba ang
mga hanapbuhay?” she asked.
“Gaya ng dapat na suporta para makaahon ang small hog raisers,
kailangan ding pagtuunan ng pansin ang pinakakailangang investments
para sa corn industry at fisheries,” Hontiveros said.
The resiliency of the sector amid the pandemic, according to
Hontiveros, should be harnessed and taken advantage of to provide more
quality jobs and make the youth interested to stay in agriculture and
in the rural areas.
“Maraming mga kabataan na magtatapos ng pag-aaral at pwedeng hindi
agad makahanap na trabaho. Pagkakataon na natin ito na maipasa sa
susunod na henerasyon, sa pamamagitan ng Agripreneurship at pagtatayo
ng mga industriya ang pagpapayabong sa Agri lalo pa’t tumatanda ang
populasyon ng ating farmers and fishers,” Hontiveros said.
“Nakita natin na astig ang Agri kahit may pandemic at “swinedemic”
dahil naging resilient ito sa harap ng krisis. Pero kailangan din
itong maging “buoyant”para mas kaya nitong magsalba ng mga nawalan ng
trabahong maaasahan sa mga syudad. Mangyayari lang ito kung bibigyan
ng priority at karampatang budget ang sektor,” she concluded. (ai/mtvn)