November 25, 2011
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, says that distributing land is only the first step toward true agrarian reform, adding that farmers who received land in the past have remained poor.
“The end goal really ought to be increasing the incomes of our farmers. Many of our lands are idle and unproductive, forcing most farmers to resell lands given to them,” he points out.
Pangilinan says it is critical for government to extend immediate integrated support services to guide the farmers in utilizing the lands being distributed to them.
“There should be integrated programs that will involve the DA, DAR, DTI, LGUs, and even NGOs to ensure that the distributed lands will provide increased incomes for the farmers.”
“The act of distributing lands will not mean anything more than a moral victory for the farmers if the government treats such as the end goal. The reason CARP has failed is that the focus was on land distribution rather than on productivity and increasing farmers’ income. Land distribution is just the first step. Without support services, the farmers will fail and may end up prey to land speculators who will buy up these lands.”
“It is a sad irony that our most crucial link to our food supply is also the weakest link in the chain. We urge the government to extend support to our farmers and provide the necessary linkages according to their needs. The whole country will benefit from the upliftment of our farmers out of poverty. This will solve our need to be food self-sufficient, plus the increased incomes in the countryside will boost demands for goods and services.”