Press Release
March 5, 2009

Full agricultural modernization needed - Loren

Senator Loren Legarda yesterday welcomed a move emanating from the House of Representatives for the mechanization of rice farming in the Philippines to ensure 100 percent rice sufficiency and end the country's importation of the staple food.

However, as chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, Senator Legarda stressed that more than just the mechanization of rice farming, what is needed by the country is a top-to-bottom modernization that will include all sorts of farm produce.

"Mechanization is just one aspect of modernizing our agricultural sector, which should include research and development, technology transfer, sustainable irrigation, seedling and fertilizer support, as well as market support," she said.

"But modernizing agriculture does not mean that we should turn our backs on tried and tested agricultural practices like the natural methods of controlling farm pests," said Loren, who also chairs the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization.

"I believe that modern and traditional farm practices can go hand in hand. We pick the best from between them and adopt them to local conditions," she added. Loren had earlier identified COCAFM's priorities as follows:

  • Extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law; provision of technology transfer to farmers to extension programs; the passage of a comprehensive law on food safety;

  • Ensuring food sufficiency while increasing farmers' income from both farm and non-farm products; development of non-farm skills as a hedge against the vagaries of nature; adoption of farms, fisheries and forest areas for their proper management by agrio-forestry state universities and colleges;

  • Provision of alternative learning processes for farm, fish and forest households on such concerns like health, nutrition, sanitation and livelihood; promotion of agri-tourism; research and development; and the restructuring of the Department of Agrarian Reform. The House Committee on Agriculture led by Rep. Braham Mitra had said that he expected the Senate to have a bill similar to the House's farm mechanization bill.

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