Press Release
July 19, 2013

Cayetano pushes for additional support for Agriculture Sector

"Agriculture should be at the forefront of economic growth, not lagging behind."

This was the message of Senator Alan Cayetano as he called for additional government support for the agriculture sector upon returning to Sta. Rita, Pampanga to donate a hand tractor to the members of the Sta. Monica Farmers' Association.

This visit, he said, is part of his legislative agenda and ongoing commitment of consulting various sectors regarding issues related to PTK: Presyo, Trabaho, Kita. "We sincerely hope that this contribution to the farmers will greatly enhance their efficiency and in the long run allow them to be more productive and earn more," he added.

The senator cited that majority of our people especially in Central Luzon rely on agriculture for their livelihood. He said that it is only fitting that we provide additional support for this sector through government funding such the Priority Development Assistance fund (PDAF).

"The PDAF, when used properly, is a great equalizer, especially for sectors like agriculture where economic growth is not felt by the poorest of the poor," he added.

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."

Cayetano said 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.

He further suggested that there should be alternative livelihood opportunities available for farmers that include technical training and increased access to capital to start small businesses so that they can earn a living during off-season or during calamities when productivity is adversely affected.

"We need to urgently take measures to help boost their income and help create better lives for them and their families. Economic growth should trickle down to the grassroots so that it can be felt by those who are in dire need of their own growth the most," he added.

Cayetano first visited Sta. Rita, Pampanga to conduct one of his PTK Listening Tours with the farmers last March during the campaign period. According to him, one of the primary concerns raised by these farmers he consulted is the lack of priority attention from the government.

According to him, support could have been easily given to these farmers if government funding such as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) provided by legislators is used and disbursed properly and not wasted because of graft and corrupt practices.

"We must remember that PDAF, if used properly, greatly benefits our people especially the poor in the form of projects that will have an immediate and direct impact on making their lives better" he said.

News Latest News Feed