By V. L. Sonny Domingo

Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte in his SONA was candid and straight forward.

His speech was more on citizen’s rights instead of the economic formula for nation building and employment creation.

Simply, he expressed in no uncertain terms that the citizens must be protected from criminals first and served by the bureaucracy in a proper manner, say in 3 days or that they should be given a checklist (shopping list) to follow and asked to get back to get the results of their request on a date based on actuarial computation on the office load.

He touched on agriculture on general terms and said that there will be a soil rehabilitation and fertilization program. He then asked Sec. Gina Lopez to correct the inequity in the use of the Laguna lake so that the fishermen will have more space to fish.

He said that such inequity in the use of water resources cannot be tolerated.

We would have wanted him to include the following:

1. General amnesty on the outstanding crop loans of the farmers and their cooperatives so that they could borrow again from the Land Bank and other banks for crop production for the farmers to contribute to having more food at reasonable prices especially for the poor. We know of an outstanding cooperative whose capital was depleted by the withdrawal of its investors just because the manager was change by the new Board (although not allowed by law) and could no longer provide credit to its members. Usually if a cooperative could no longer provide credit the borrowers do not pay hence they could not collect and pay Land Bank. With a beautiful warehouse in the middle of the barangay it is now in limbo.
2. Law to provide loans to farmer federations going into agribusiness by clustering their farms to produce their own renewable energy to electrigate their farms, process their produce for value adding and requiring all commercial banks to capitalize it as compliance of the agri-agra credit law (instead of buying government T-bills) . Most often the government offers T-bills as compliance to the Agri-Agra Credit Law and has become the number one competitor of agriculture loans for the farmers.
3. Amend the charter of the National Food Authority to concentrate on grains regulation and pass on its marketing facilities and expertise to farmer federations that can produce the shortfall and the requirements of the DSWD to supply rice every month so that they will have something to eat. With cluster farming as proposed by a farmers’ federation, they can now produce what is imported given the Letter of Credit to produce the NFA BUFFER STOCKS.
4. Shift to FEDERALISM by asking Congress to allocate P 3 B for each Regional Development Council to start their own FEDERAL FARMS for their own food security program, planting the appropriate crops and exchange with other regions. Each must be ordered to be self sufficient in grains for food and feeds. The regions that cannot produce must be able to produce a commodity that they can use to barter with other regions for the food and feeds supply that they will need for food security.
5. Declare complete farm mechanization by funding farmer federations willing to convert hand transplanting to mechanized transplanting and harvesting and also make obsolete the traders, since the farmers will NOW be assisted to have their own rice mills and warehouses to sell their own produce.
6. The P 2 Billion worth of machineries claimed by Sec. Manny Pinol to have been kept in warehouses due to a counter-productive policy of DA can be transferred to farmers’ federations to operate a Farm Mechanization Pool to service the target area as a profit center where the incomes will be used to expand the common service facilities to help subsistent farmers mechanize their farms.
7. Instruct the DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE to train the drug surrenderees into high value vegetable crops farming as a means of livelihood and help them lease public and private public lands. Urban farming centers can be organized where the drug addicts can report in the morning to have a job for the day or the week as part of their rehabilitation program.
8. Instruct the DEPT. OF AGRARIAN REFORM to inventory all agriculture lands that are converted and are idle and ask Congress to pass a FARM LANDS RETURN LAW to purchase the converted lands and lease this out to rehabilitated drugs addicts to produce vegetables and other high value crops. This is specially so the idle lands in the highways that can be converted into high value vegetable farms that can supply the local market and food chains because of easy transport and serve as PRODUCTIVITY CENTER MODULES.

Pres. Duterte could have asked Congress to enact a GET SMART FarmS (Green Energy Technology for Systematic, Modernized, Appropriate Rural Technologies for Farmers Sustainability) LAW with enough funds to introduce modern farming with Licensed Agriculturist for every 100 farmers and Professional Managers in Agribusiness to managed FARMER CORPORATIONS owned and operated by the small holder farmers.

Lastly, Pres. Duterte could have directed all government agencies to participate in developing agribusiness for small holder farmers using their technology, facilities and funding. (FOR COMMENTS PLS. EMAIL TO This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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Thursday, 20 February 2020
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