President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. vowed on Wednesday to revive the agricultural reforms initiated by his father, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr., as he called for a whole-of-nation approach to address the challenges in the agri-fishery sector.

Speaking at the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) in Quezon City, the President said that his administration is facing a monumental task of developing and modernizing the Philippine agri-fishery sector, which has been left behind for decades.

“Kaya po ito po ay napakalaking trabaho. Kaya’t kailangan po natin, hindi kaya ng pamahalaan na nag-iisa na gawin lahat ito, kaya’t kailangan po natin ang tulong ninyo.  Kailangan namin ang sipag ninyo, kailangan namin ang advice ninyo dahil kayo ang nakaharap sa mga problema ng agrikultura na dinadaanan natin ngayon,” said the President.

“Kaya po ay asahan po ninyo ang ating pamahalaan, ang inyong gobyerno, ay nandito po upang gawin ang lahat upang tulungan ang ating mga magsasaka na makapag-produce ng magandang ani, na makapangisda nang sapat para sa ating mga kababayan, at maipagbili naman ito sa presyo na abot-kaya ng ating mga mamamayan.  At kasabay din diyan ay kailangan naman ay may magandang hanapbuhay ang ating mga magsasaka at ang ating mga fisherfolk,” the President added.

Things have changed in the past decades and the government has to begin by assessing the need of Filipino farmers and fisherfolk to increase their yield and productivity and in the end elevate their living condition, he said.

The President also added that among the top priorities of the administration are enhancing agricultural productivity, ensuring food supply and affordability, as well as lessening dependence on importation.

Another priority is to increase the exportation of agricultural products, which has beenan essential driver of the competitiveness of the economy.

The administration, he said, is steering the growth of the fisheries and farming industries with urgency, as he expressed optimism for the modernization of the agri-fisheries sector with a substantial budget of P85.88 billion for 2023, and a proposed budget of P92.4 billion pesos for 2024.

He also emphasized that, as of 2023, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has allocated P4.73 billion as an investment for the large-scale agriculture and fishery mechanization and modernization.

“Among the many endeavors that we are pursuing is the strengthening of the various associations and cooperatives so that they can provide business and investment opportunities to their beneficiaries,” he said, adding this will definitely elevate the standard of living condition of farmers and fishermen and their families.

“You have my assurance that the government is striving to implement efficient mechanization strategies to reduce post-harvest losses and to ensure the optimal yield at an affordable cost.” |PND

Photo Courtesy of PCO