Press Release
September 25, 2012


Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan today underscores the need to set into motion plans that would boost the modernization of the agricultural and fisheries sector in the country, saying that doing so would solve the nation's unemployment, poverty, and food security issues.

"There is very compelling evidence that the agriculture and fisheries sectors can be robust springboards upon which nations may be able to lift themselves out of poverty and move towards progress and prosperity. Vietnam has done it, as did China and Thailand. The Philippines should take its cue from its neighbors and put into practice what has proven to be effective formulas for success."

In a public hearing on bills promoting agriculture and fisheries mechanization, Pangilinan says that the country is in an enviable position to become the next booming economy in Asia.

"We are in the midst of a transition wherein the business climate and social structures are improving. This atmosphere must be supported by plans for long-term, sustainable economic structures that would ensure continuous progress. Agricultural mechanization will help immensely our efforts at becoming food self-sufficient."

Pangilinan, who chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, laments the fact that the Philippines is currently languishing at the bottom list of rice producing countries in Asia in terms of agricultural mechanization, barely edging out Myanmar, which is the least mechanized in the region.

"The country only has 12,000 agricultural tractors. Compare that to Japan, who is the most mechanized country in Asia and has 2 million tractors. This is a very wide gap. The data is glaring and we need to address this issue immediately."

Pangilinan stands firm in his belief that agriculture is a key sector that could boost further the country's economy. He adds that agricultural mechanization will bring in more jobs in the sector, and increase profits for farmers.

"It is laudable that we have an anti-corruption advocate as President, as well as a very hardworking Agriculture Secretary in Proceso Alcala. These are the reasons why prioritizing the agriculture and fisheries sector could benefit us now. The timing could not have been more perfect, more ripe. If we are able to up the incomes of our farmers, and make agriculture and fisheries a highly profitable venture for them, then the country would be able to fulfill its goal of becoming a developed nation. But every effort must be geared towards uplifting the lives of our farmers and fisherfolk."

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