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Marcos gov't urged to provide farmer subsidies this planting season

Aside from offering their recommendations, food producers urged the new administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to look into the difficulties the agriculture and livestock sectors were facing.

In Maki Pulido’s “24 Oras” report on Tuesday, Marcos, given the looming food crisis, called for the immediate implementation of the “Masagana 150” and “Masagana 200” proposals to increase food production.

These programs hope to produce 150 to 200 cavans of rice per hectare.

“These are good plans that we have to put into place. Let us operationalize them already, itong pinaguusapan natin, first on the immediate short-term supply for the rest of the country,” Marcos said.

However, Bantay Bigas pointed out that Thailand, a rice exporting country, could only harvest 120 cavans per hectare.

Instead, Bantay Bigas proposed that, in the short term, subsidies could be given during the planting season so more farmers would plant crops and there would be more to harvest.

“Dapat tignan, i-analyze niya muna yung kapasidad ng ating agriculture ng sa ganoon makapagplano siya nang maigi,” Cathy Estavillo of Bantay Bigas said.

(He should first look into, analyze our agriculture capacity so that he can plan effectively.)

Apart from increasing the production of rice and corn, the President said it was  also necessary to increase livestock production.

“The conclusion we have come to here is that we have to increase our production and we talked about the ways that we can do it. I don’t know if we have enough time pati sa problema ng lifestock, baboy, at manok,” Marcos said.

Stakeholders of the agriculture sector, for their part, said that when the Department of Agriculture (DA) imported chickens, it was estimated that 30% of poultry farmers went bankrupt.

Furthermore, the decline in local supply coincided with the outbreak of avian flu in certain countries, so there were only selected countries or areas where they can import chicken, these imports were expensive, and it will take a while before these imports could be shipped in.

“Ang hamon ngayon kay Pangulong Marcos papapaano mo hahayaan yung sistema ng WTO na mayroong pumapasok na importasyon pero hindi mawawalan ng loob yung mga producers,” Bong Inciong of the United Broilers Raisers Association said.

Last month, the prices of eggs climbed by P50 per tray at the Commonwealth Market amid the limited supply as some local vendors were affected due to the increase in imported breeders.

“He should meet with us para makita niya talaga kung gaano kalalim itong problema… at para makapag-suggest din kami kung ano ‘yung pwedeng solusyon, kung ano ang makakatulong sa amin, para kami ay bumalik ‘uli sa production,” Gregorio San Diego of Philippine Egg Board Association said. — Richa Noriega/DVM, GMA News