Press Release
June 27, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara commended the Department of Agriculture's (DA) new program to provide funding for farmer cooperatives throughout the country, saying that this is an important step towards boosting the Philippines' agriculture sector.

The DA Mechanization and Postharvest Program for Rice, which will be implemented from 2011 to 2015, aims to provide financing support for qualified rice farmers in the countryside. This program is part of the department's efforts to modernize the rice milling sector.

"Financing has always been an obstacle for our farmers. If we integrate their farmer cooperatives into this program, they will have the chance to acquire their own rice mills, which is vital to improving the quality of their harvest and increasing their profit margin," explained Angara.

According to Angara, the government must continue to prioritize the development of the agriculture sector by investing in post-harvest and logistical facilities that will curb wastage and facilitate transportation, which will be especially beneficial for small farmers.

"What we need now is better facilities for product processing and preparation, as well as countrywide pre- and post-harvest programs such as credit for farmers, irrigation systems and farm-to-market roads. All of these will help increase the efficiency and productivity of our agriculture sector," explained Angara.

Angara, former secretary of the Department of Agriculture, reiterated the importance of this industry to the growth of the country's economy.

"Although it has gone through a period of low growth in recent years, agriculture will continue to be the backbone of the Philippine economy. We must not be remiss in investing in long-term solutions such as in agricultural infrastructure and R&D," he suggested.

Angara authored the groundbreaking Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) in 1997. He is also sponsoring the Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Act and the Magna Carta of Agriculture and Fishery Development Workers, both of which have been referred to their parent committees following the First Reading.

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