October 2, 2011
Speaking at the Gawad Kalinga (GK) Countyside Development Summit, held Sunday at the GK “Enchanted Farm” in Angat, Bulacan, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan talked about using the social enterprise model and public-private partnerships to ensure sustainable agriculture in the Philippines.
“Sustainable farming must begin with the community, ably supported by various sectors,” Pangilinan pointed out. “Farming, if done right, can be profitable and can lead to an improved quality of life for our farmers and fisherfolk.”
Pangilinan has previously spoken of the need to drastically improve farmers’ incomes, with some farmers earning as little as P30,000 a year. He spoke of adopting the GK model to develop sustainable agricultural communities and also pointed out the critical role of public-private partnerships in modernizing agriculture for greater profitability and food security.
He said, “The commitment of the private sector, the corporate sector, is key because it is the private sector that has the needed resources to sustain the effort of modernizing agriculture and achieving food sufficiency. Government, on the other hand, must come in to provide assistance in terms of technology, research and development, and key infrastructure development around those communities.”
Pangilinan chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, and is co-chair of the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization (COCAFM). His five priority areas for agricultural sustainability are: access to investments and credit, access to market, roll-out of infrastructure, research and development, and organizing farmer communities.
After the morning proceedings, Sen. Pangilinan, together with Gawad Kalinga founder Tony Meloto and Angat, Bulacan Mayor Gilberto Santos signed a Memorandum of Understanding for funding GK activities worth P10 million. Two million was allocated to support the development of the GK Enchanted Farm, including the construction of facilities and training for capacity-building. Eight million will go to key GK areas in Camarines Sur; Daet, Camarines Norte; Victorias, Negros Occidental, and Davao.
“Agri social enterprises, coupled with public-private partnerships, is unleashing People Power in the rural areas in order for agricultural communities to increase their earnings and improve their quality of life,” Pangilinan said. “With this, we hope to become food-sufficient and self-sustaining, thereby reshaping our nation.
Image Source: Gawad Kalinga Website