THE National Food Authority (NFA) Council has approved one-vote right for the body’s farmer representative as part of the effort to provide better representation in policy decisions.
“That one vote for our farmers is a milestone in our efforts to include the voice of the sector that is greatly affected by the policies decided upon by this body,” Renan Dalisay, NFA administrator, said.
He added that the move is in compliance with Republic Act 7606, or the Magna Carta of Small Farmers, which mandates the inclusion of a farmer representative in the NFA Board.
With the approval of the farmer-representative’s voting rights, the NFA Council members, with one voting right each, is now composed of representatives from the NFA Management, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Finance (DOF), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Office of the President (OP), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), one appointive director, and the farmer sector representative.
The NFA Council is currently chaired by the Secretary of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (OPAFSAM) with the Administrator of the National Food Authority (NFA) as vice-chairman.
Edwin Paraluman, the current farmer representative to the NFA Council, welcomes this change with great optimism.
“This could pave the way for policy decisions that could better represent the needs and concerns of our farmers and agricultural workers, and we are grateful to the current members of the NFA Council,” he said.
Among those calling for representation in the NFA Council were local corn farmers, who are calling for the “true” liberalization of the commodity.
Corn growers said the current government policy was inconsistent with the idea of a free trade, noting that corn imports have already liberalized, yet the NFA still restricts exports of the grain.
The rice sector also wants to take the NFA board seat previously allocated for the Philippine National Bank representative, which is no longer state-owned, making two farmers representative in the NFA National Council. JAMES GALVEZ