State of agriculture

State of agriculture
State of agriculture

President Benigno Aquino III yesterday cited the fact that the agriculture sector grew by 3.3 percent in the first half of this year, a figure three times its 2012 equivalent.

We appreciate this improvement since growth in this sector is expected for an agricultural country .

The growth figure, however, is not much to crow about, a small one compared with progress in other segments of the economy.

We are still far from being self-reliant in rice production.

President Aquino’s castigating the Bureau of Customs for its outright connivance in smuggling operations was timely.

Rice smuggling has kept many local farmers and their families in a rut with the undetected or whitewashed cases of rice smuggling apart from the haul earlier this year of at least 600,000 sacks of rice in Cebu and at least 400,000 in Subic ports.

Yes the Philippines has imported 350,000 metric tons of rice, a smaller volume than the 2 million metric tons of 2010 but this doesn’t sound so impressive in the face of the entry of illegal rice shipments.

Meanwhile, we hope that the President’s plan to facilitate the opening of 434 more intercropping sites for coconut farmers in addition to the 90 existing ones takes off.

The program would have big gains if guidelines are immediately adopted to source funds using the coconut farmers’ shares of the United Coconut Planters Bank.

Planting coffee and cacao amid coconut groves is a brilliant idea not only economically but as a means of retaining water in our soil in this age of global warming.

Funding for the program would show the government’s seriousness in preserving the “golden goose” that would bring in profits to farmers and their families through “coco water.”

We hope that some time soon, the intercropping program of the national government fuses with the farmer-scientists program of Magsaysay awardee Dr. Romulo David, which will be expanded by Gov. Hilario Davide III, so that Cebu’s rural areas will benefit.

Cebu City and other locales that have food baskets should also take advantage of this fresh impetus from the Aquino administration for development in agriculture. Courtesy Cebu Daily News

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