Press Release
June 27, 2018


Aside from infrastructure development, Senator Sonny Angara said the government should also invest heavily in the agriculture sector if it wants economic growth more inclusive or be felt by a larger population.

Speaking at the 2018 National Conference and Agri-Fishery Research and Development Festival held in Sorsogon City, Angara said the country needs nothing short of an "agricultural revolution," which the Duterte administration could spearhead, alongside its "Build, Build, Build" initiative, the centerpiece program of the administration.

"Just as we hope to enter a golden age of infrastructure, we should aim to reach an equivalent 'golden age of agriculture.' Where there's build, build, build, there should also be a 'grow, grow, grow'; 'plant, plant, plant' or even 'fish, fish, fish,'" Angara said.

According to the senator, an agricultural revolution is necessary to help revive the country's ailing agriculture sector.

"We may be exhibiting among the fastest growth rates in the world today, but such growth would be for nothing if it doesn't reach our farmers and fisherfolk," he said, citing a data which showed that 60 percent of poor Filipinos work in the agriculture sector.

"Isipin nalang natin, bakit kasama pa rin ang mga magsasaka at mangingisda sa mga pinakamahirap na sektor? Bagaman pagkain ang kanilang hanapbuhay, marami pa rin sa kanila ang nagugutom. Kaya marami sa kanila ang nagkakasakit, at karamihan sa kanilang mga anak ay hindi nakapag-aaral o kaya naman ay hirap maghanap ng trabaho," Angara said.

The conference was hosted by the Fulbright-Philippine Agriculture Alumni Association Inc. The senator's father, the late Senate President Edgardo Angara, is considered the father of the Fulbright-Philippine Agriculture Program.

Angara recently received the Posthumous Award given by the Department of Agriculture to his late father "for his distinguished contribution in the modernization of the Philippine agriculture and fisheries through the realization of the Agriculture and Fishery Modernization Act (AFMA) while he served as Agriculture Secretary from 1999 to 2001."

The award stated that during his term as Agriculture Secretary, food production industries recorded a growth rate of 3.6 percent, which instituted countryside development and progress, increase in the income of farmers and fishers, and the upliftment of lives and livelihood in the rural areas.

Angara said that becoming an agriculture secretary gave his father the opportunity to implement the AFMA law and to champion the advancement of food production programs that brought about the increase in volume of rice yield and other food staples in the country.

"To him, investments in agriculture R&D were always the most cost-effective. My father may have been a 'weekend farmer'-as he once put it. But the problems facing farmers, fisherfolk, livestock producers and all others in agriculture always occupied his mind.

"To him, agriculture wasn't just a hobby or a passion project; it was an advocacy that needed to be pursued doggedly for the sake of the country," Angara said.

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