News Release

PBBM says work to improve agri sector has only just begun; urges stakeholders to aid agribusiness efficiency

Efforts to improve the Philippine agricultural sector must be accelerated to make it a significant contributor to economic growth and national development, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said on Thursday, as he called on different stakeholders to aid his administration to achieve its goals.

Speaking at the opening rites of the Agrilink/Foodlink/Aqualink Trade Fairs 2022 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, Marcos said initiatives to improve the sector, as well as the plight of the Filipino farmers and fisherfolk, have only just begun.

“We are presently only playing catch-up. We have allowed the agriculture sector to diminish in its importance and in its contribution to our GDP, our contribution to the welfare of ordinary citizens, ordinary Filipinos,” he said.

The President added: “And that is why it is important that we accelerate all our efforts. And occasions such as this are just the highly appropriate times for which we can remind ourselves that what we are doing is not only growing crops, not only expanding fisheries, not only helping our livestock growers, but what we are is feeding a nation.”

The Chief Executive said the Philippines can attain stability and progress as a nation aside from ensuring sufficient food source if it has a strong agricultural foundation.

Through this year’s trade fair, the government can link with different partners to realize its goal of revitalizing the agricultural sector, he pointed out.

“Through the conduct of trade events like this, we seek to improve the agricultural value chain and aid in the overall development of the small and medium-scale enterprises in the agribusiness sector through the creation of market opportunities,” Marcos said.

“Trade events like Agrilink, Foodlink, and Aqualink help us support our farmers and our fisherfolk. We empower them to become catalysts who will contribute to the recovery and inclusive growth of our economy,” he added.

Following the crippling effects of the pandemic, the country now gears toward building back better together with the people, he said, adding that the government has provided inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, machinery, equipment, facilities as well as fingerlings and livestock to help farmers, fisherfolk, and livestock growers.

The government has also expanded irrigation projects, established KADIWA outlets, created food logistics hubs and agri-trading centers, and aided cooperatives and associations to procure reefer vans, freezers, chillers, and other logistical support to help the farmers.

The President also said the government likewise provided various forms of assistance, disbursing more than P590 million under the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance and P320 million for the Fuel Discount Program for Farmers and Fisherfolk.

In addition, it also has a Quick Response Fund, which is readily available to aid farmers in times of disasters and calamities.

Marcos reported that so far, the government has released a total of P1.54 billion, benefitting more than 17 million farmers and fisherfolk.

The President was joined by Senator Cynthia Villar, Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban, Agrilink 2022 Chairman Christopher Lindo, Foundation for Resource Linkage and Development Chairperson Dulce Gozon, and members of the diplomatic corps. | PND