Press Release
June 9, 2010


With last year's P6.5 Billion worth of damages to agricultural crops and facilities from typhoon tragedies, Sen. Edgardo J. Angara urged the incoming administration to develop underutilized agricultural lands and generate high-quality produce and employment for rural communities.

"Five million Filipinos in the rural sector are either unemployed or underemployed, which is due to the underutilization of agricultural lands in the country. That was before the typhoons. Now we are faced not only with the dilemma to optimize our farms but also to rehabilitate them," lamented Angara, former Agriculture Secretary.

Farmlands and villages around the country endured floodwaters for months after last year's Ondoy and Pepeng typhoons. Angara stressed the importance of taking serious, urgent steps to help farmers recover from the losses of the typhoons and to build better livelihoods.

Angara seeks to convert a million hectares of unused lands into farms of hybrid corn, cassava and high-value commercial crops (HVCCs) in a period of two years. It will integrate existing crop areas with idle prime lands into clusters of mechanized and irrigated farms, adopt modern crop production technologies, enhance farmers' access to credit for their purchases and capital, provide training for farmers on innovations in post-harvest mechanization and processing and promote local capacity-building.

A quality standard system will also be implemented on feed grain, vegetables, fibers, fruits and industrial crops to ensure their quality for consumption as well as better and competitive prices in the domestic market. Recently local farm produce have taken a slump in the market due to imported goods from neighboring Asian countries. "This bill will boost our capability to produce high-quality crops," Angara asserted.

"Not only should we maximize the richness of our resources for healthy consumption, especially fruits and vegetables for our children's nutritional needs; we also create jobs for millions in the provinces and keep them self-subsisting so they can build better lives. The core objective of this bill is to drastically reduce rural poverty," Angara expressed optimism.

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