Press Release
October 6, 2009


With an estimated P6.5 billion worth of crops damaged by the recent typhoons, Sen. Edgardo J. Angara is calling on government's agriculture agencies to pour in more funds to rehabilitate farms. Typhoons Pepeng and Ondoy have stalled agricultural production, destroying rice paddies supposedly for harvest in November and forcing the country to import more rice to fill the shortfall.

"Typhoons are a serious threat to the country's food security. Even without natural disasters, our rice production is already inadequate. If this gets worse due to extreme weather, we will succumb to dependence on other food-producing countries and eventually lose our own agriculture industry," warned Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance and former Agriculture Secretary.

Agriculture is the largest single industry in the country and majority of livelihood source for rural Filipinos. Filipinos are highly dependent on agro-marine products for consumption and enterprise, especially in the countryside.

At the recent budget hearing, Angara called on the Department of Agriculture and attached agencies to strategically allocate their limited funds towards rehabilitative projects in the agriculture sector.

Further, he emphasized the need to develop technologies and adapt best practices to improve farming and harvesting techniques among Filipino farmers.

"If we do not expedite and aggressively implement reforms in the agriculture industry, we will be at a worse state should the next calamity occur. We need to adapt a comprehensive agriculture program to ready our farmers for calamities like typhoons, floods, pest epidemics and drought," said Angara.

He added, "while it is true that agriculture is dependent on the vagaries of the weather, there is a lot we can do to stabilize our food production."

Angara is promoting the use of agricultural and agro-marine techniques, including off-season vegetable farming to sustain crop breeding and production year-round, and mariculture processing to improve the quality of marine resources.

He is also proposing an extension to the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA), which he authored in 1997. It seeks to give the agro-marine sector a bigger share in the development of the country's resources, creating more equitable access to assets, income, services and infrastructure.

He also called for maximizing the country's underutilized agricultural lands to generate more employment, as well as for adapting technologies to improve the quality of coconut, rice and vegetable products for the domestic and international market.

"We need to put in place a long-term strategy to spare us and our agricultural resources from such natural disasters and to keep our agricultural sector alive," stressed Angara.

News Latest News Feed