VICE President Jejomar Binay on Saturday stressed the need to develop reforms on a national scale in order to revive the agricultural sector and improve the lives of farmers.
Binay said the lackluster performance of the agriculture sector was a tragedy “considering the vast scope of the sector, its contribution to the national economy and the millions of Filipinos depending on it for their livelihood.”
“I will not profess expertise in the management of the agriculture sector. But common sense and my 20-year experience as a local executive tell me this: we need to develop and start structural reforms that will benefit agriculture on a national scale” he said.
“We need to mount ground level initiatives that would benefit the poor of our country,” Binay continued.
He lamented that despite the agriculture sector’s importance in the economy, “its performance leaves much to be desired.”
“A decade ago, we were a net agricultural exporter. Now, we are a net importer. Before, we were self-sufficient in rice and corn, now we import substantial quantities of these grains,” he explained.
“With the fragmentation of our rural lands due to agrarian reform and the failure to provide the necessary support services previously given by landowners, the sector now is dominated by small farmers and fisher folk,” Binay noted.
“Private investment in agriculture has come in trickles and productivity is very low compared to our Asean neighbors,” the Vice President emphasized.