Press Release
November 26, 2010


Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan today lamented the country's negative growth rate in the agricultural sector (-2.62%) from January to September 2010, this despite the 6.5% growth in the economy in general. The DA said the negative growth was due to the dry spell. The data came from the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Agricultural Statistics.

"What's the point of the economic growth if we are unable to ensure food security? This data is a clear indication that the sector is being taken for granted and neglected. We need to do more in terms of preparedness and having buffer systems in place so that our farmers and their livelihoods are protected."

Pangilinan is the chair of the senate's committee on agriculture and food. He is working closely with DA secretary Proceso Alcala in coming up with a roadmap for the country's agricultural sector. According to DA's Bureau of Agricultural Statistics' website, the crops' subsector also recorded a 7.24 percent decline from its level last year.

"We need to develop long-term, sustainable measures to address usual threats faced by our farmers. We should strengthen crop protection measures for our farmers as they seem to be always on the losing end when faced with natural disasters. We owe it to our farmers to make their lives better as they have been breaking their backs for decades just to put food in our table."

"We should also push for key reforms in critical areas such as productivity, infrastructure and organizing farmers if we are to reverse the negative growth. Dry spells and weather disturbances have been around for centuries, and so to always refer to nature as a way of explaining negative growth isn't good enough. We need to confront productivity head on and factor in these weather patterns so we can anticipate their impact and adequately be prepared to minimize the damage and thereby cushion the impact."

"It's time government steps in and shields our farmers from being at the mercy of weather patterns. We cannot allow our farmers to be left twisting in the wind; government intervention is necessary to give our farmers and fisherfolk a fighting chance. Leaving them at the mercy of the elements and yet expecting them to deliver in the area of food security is totally unacceptable."

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