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Go Negosyo founder and Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) Lead for Jobs Joey Concepcion strongly supports President Ferdinand “Bongbong”Marcos Jr.’s
President Marcos made the remark in a recent event with the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“Staying as the lead for agriculture is a smart decision from the President. He can quickly make reforms and ensure that all systems are in place to help the country’s farmers just like what his father did during his term,” Concepcion said.
“Having met the President several times to discuss Go Negosyo’s Kapatid Angat Lahat Agri Program KALAP, I know that he cares for the farmers, and he is passionate to transform the industry. Given the right time, this will be his legacy,” he added.
Concepcion said he is also highly supportive of the President’s program of encouraging farm clustering as an important component of his administration’s agricultural modernization thrust in his recentpronouncement during his meeting with South Cotabato farmers.
Concepcion underscored the importance of farm clustering to boost productivity, ensure food security and increase the income of farmers.
Farm clustering was among those recommended by Go Negosyo’s Kapatid Angat Lahat Program (KALAP) Agri Program and think tank group Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) during their meeting with Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) officials, led by Secretary Conrado Estrella III.
“For the period 2001-2021, the annual average contribution of agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is just 0.3 % while industry and the service sectors
“Philippine agriculture needs scale. We need clustering to achieve it. For this to become a reality, titling of land needs to be cleaned up,” he added.
Through clustering, Concepcion said farming would be attractive to big companies because they only want to lease agriculture lands and not purchase them.
Farm clustering would also serve as the best complement to the reforms and programs being initiated President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., as concurrent Department of Agriculture Secretary, to enhance food security, boost the agriculture sector and uplift the lives of farmers.
“It is different if the President himself is at the helm of the Agriculture Department. Also, he has good people implementing his vision for the country, like Agrarian Reform Secretary Estrella and other government agencies,” Concepcion said.
“KALAP and the private sector, composed of big brothers in the agri sector, including Dr. Fermin Adriano of FEF, are always here to offer our expertise to help the President attain his vision,” he added.
Through farm clustering, it would be easier for the government to provide assistance to farmers, such as loans and farm machinery, because it would deal with groups rather than individual tillers, FEF representative Dr. Fermin Adriano explained during the meeting with DAR.
“The process will pave way for the use of modern farm machinery and technologies, thereby achieving economies of scale, and allow the development of downstream industries, such as food processing, due to adequate and reliable supply of raw materials,” he added.
Other countries that have implemented farm clustering, such as China, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, all enjoyed higher yields.
In his opinion piece for the Manila Times, Adriano batted for the immediate and proper implementation of the law condoning the debt of defaulting agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB).
“The challenge now is to formulate implementing rules and regulations that will facilitate awarding of individual land titles. This means the process should not be burdensome for the ARBs,” Adriano said in his column.
He also called for the implementation of a higher land retention ceiling, currently at 5 hectares for a couple tilling the land and 3 hectares for an individual cultivator.
“The proposal of the FEF is to raise it to at least 24 hectares in accordance with the ceiling provided for the homesteaders program of the past. If adopted, this will promote the rise of Filipino middle-class farmers or ‘family-operated farms,” he said.