Press Release
March 16, 2013


"Agriculture should be at the forefront of economic growth, not lagging behind." This was the message of Senator Alan Cayetano as he visited farmers in Sta. Rita, Pampanga yesterday as part of his Listening Tour to discuss issues related to PTK: Presyo, Trabaho, Kita.

Cayetano expressed dismay over reports stating that despite a 10-percent increase in foreign direct investments (FDI), the agriculture, forestry, and fishery sectors are still lagging behind. In fact, these did not receive any FDI for the third quarter of 2012 - a stark contrast to the P960 million it received as FDI in 2011.

"We need growth that is felt by all families, not only big businesses, but also small enterprises as well as various demographics, especially farmers," Cayetano said.

Quoting World Bank country director for Philippines Motoo Konishi, Cayetano emphasized that "(s)upport for both the agriculture and tourism sectors is particularly important for job creation. These sectors also create more jobs and economic opportunities in other areas of the economy."

CAPITAL FOR FARMERS Cayetano said that government must increase farmers' access to capital by making loans available to existing cooperatives and small businesses. "Instead of paying 20 percent interest to '5-6' lenders to rent equipment and buy seeds and fertilizer, farmer cooperatives will only have to pay 3-5 percent in interest," he said.

He also proposed that these cooperatives be supported by the government to enable them to acquire small-scale post-harvest facilities. "These will hopefully address the inefficiencies in agricultural production and help in improving the state of our farmers. This will help boost their income and help uplift the lives of their families," he said.

Cayetano is running on a platform centered on addressing issues related to PTK: Presyo, Trabaho, Kita. He presented his platform to address poverty at a grand launch in Taguig City University (TCU) yesterday in front of a 3,000-person strong audience consisting of Filipinos from the youth, senior citizen, women, and blue-collar workers sectors, among others.

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