October 26, 2011
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Chair of the Senate Committee on Social Justice and Rural Development and of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, today says that should the proposed sale of the Food Terminal Incorporated push through, its proceeds should be plowed back to the agriculture sector, particularly to efforts in increasing the incomes of farmers and fisherfolk.
In a Senate Committee hearing on the proposed sale of the FTI, Pangilinan says that while no one particularly opposes the sale, certain issues must be addressed.
“My only concern is whether or not the sale of the FTI would run counter to our efforts at achieving food self-sufficiency,” Pangilinan says. “Our goal in this hearing is to make sure that the left hand knows what the right hand is doing, or to make sure that the left hand is not taking away what the right hand is giving. At face value, it would seem that the sale of FTI means that we are moving away from our goal of becoming competitive and taking away from our efforts at upping the incomes of our farmers by giving them access to markets and top-of-the-line post-harvest facilities. But during the hearing it seems that everyone agrees that the entire amount under the law and DOJ opinion must be plowed back to the agriculture and fisheries sector.”
Pangilinan says that there should be synergized efforts between the recipients of the proceeds of the FTI sale to ensure that, should the sale push through, the revenue generated will be focused on building our farmers’ capacity to meet the demands of the market and ensuring their access to these markets.
“We must make sure that our efforts are synchronized so that the money will not go to waste. It has become the new mantra of this administration to increase the incomes of our farmers, and that is what we should focus on.”
“Having a food distribution hub is crucial, as it has been proven in other countries that farmers can double their incomes if they have access to the markets. The DA must make their position clear to the DOF how much land they want to retain within the FTI property to ensure that our efforts at strengthening the entire supply chain will not be compromised with this sale.”
“Privatization per se is not necessarily a bad policy,” Pangilinan clarifies. “We just need to have a coordinated plan and a clear cut policy to ensure that the farmers and fisherfolk will directly benefit from the proceeds of the sale of the FTI.”