November 17, 2011
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan today hails the government’s thrust in modernizing agriculture and improving the lives of farmers and fisherfolk, saying this is a major step towards the country’s goal of becoming a developed nation.
“The 60 percent increase from the previous year’s budget to 2012’s P61.7 billion indicates that the Aquino administration recognizes the significance of the agriculture sector in poverty alleviation and moving the nation forward. After decades of serious neglect, it is about time the sector gets its due.”
Pangilinan, who is the Senate Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Food and Chairman of the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization, earlier in the year convened the Agriculture and Fisheries (AF2025) task force together with Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and representatives from the private sector and farmers and fisherfolk organizations to identify and tackle major issues that hinder the agriculture and fisheries sector from realizing its potential. One of these issues is budget restrictions.
“We believe that it was through our consultations with DA Secretary Procy Alcala, Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and President Aquino himself that the exponential increase in the DA’s budget was realized. The increased budget will help immensely in addressing poverty in the country, which is greatest in the rural areas. It boggles the mind that our farmers survive on a measly wage of less than P2,000 per month, yet they are our most crucial link to our food supply.”
“The increase in incomes of our farmers and fisherfolk will have a tremendous impact on our economy. The demand for goods and services would increase exponentially. The impact of wealthier farmers and fisherfolk on the growth of the economy would be overwhelming.”