Press Release
December 19, 2007

Angara pushes for independent study of AFMA

Senator Edgardo Angara in the organizational meeting of the Congressional Oversight Committee on Fisheries and Agriculture Modernization (COCOFAM) pushed for an independent study of the effectiveness of the implementation of Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA).

"We've got to put an impact monitoring and assessment mechanism in agriculture, and evaluate if the programs we're implementing are working effectively. For instance, what is the impact of AFMA? How better can we implement it?" said Senator Angara, chair of the COCOFAM.

According to Senator Angara, the AFMA has not received its rightful share in the budget, and this hinders the effective implementation of the law.

Passed in 1997, the AFMA provides a comprehensive framework to modernize agriculture and ensure food security in the country.

Senator Angara, who authored the AFMA law, pointed out that 'the AFMA fund should be an increment to the budget of the Department of Agriculture (DA)."

"Instead, there have been allegations that part of the DA's regular fund and some of the loans being given out by the Land Bank had been attributed to the AFMA."

"In paper, the AFMA budget may seem big, but because of attribution, the fund is not available to the agriculture sector. If this attribution is really taking place, then it is a clear violation of the AFMA," said Senator Angara.

According to Senator Angara, "We need an independent study to clarify these allegations, and from there decide the appropriate actions to take."

Other priority agenda of the COCOFAM include (1) requiring the Department of Agriculture to create a five year agriculture and fisheries modernization plan; and (2) increasing agricultural R&D to at least 1% of GVA to agriculture, amounting to Php8.5 billion.

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