GREEN MINDED: Thoughts on Philippine Agriculture Today

Controversy amidst inconsistency in solving the rice problem within government agencies took national attention, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol, much like his madman principal, out of nowhere suggested to plant rice in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Only a dimwit like Piñol can think of this madness.

While Duterte’s propagandist Sassot tried to malign legitimate concerns of farmers on the rice industry through ignorance-driven antics of disinformation.

We can vividly remember this administration’s campaign promise in February 2016 to provide food for every household across classes. However, as for how to fulfill such promises is another thing. With much certainty, Piñol’s PR circus cannot solve this.

What went wrong with this administration’s handling of our country’s staple?

Duterte’s agricultural policies actually did not deviate much from that of his predecessor Aquino. The general subservience to neo-liberalism in agriculture continues as it maintains the export-oriented and import-dependent agricultural economy. Duterte’s agricultural policy is “dilawan” through and through while it has Marcosian tendencies.

The current administration also promised to solve the rice-smuggling in the country and to destroy rice cartels. In 2012, only 1 out of more than 100 cases of rice smuggling was resolved with one conviction and it did not change much under the Duterte administration. Also in 2012, 30 million cavans were noted from exporters while only 13.9 million cavans were recorded to arrive, thus meaning around 16.1 million cavans were undeclared or smuggled in the country. Pinol’s PR antics to address rice smuggling did nothing but pure propaganda.

Planting rice in PNG and sending it to the Philippines will increase risks of rice-smuggling, considering that the past and current administrations have been insincere in solving such problem, and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) remains to be a corrupt agency. It will also result in volatile prices since it entails transporting the rice and prone to fluctuations in oil prices.

Now, there’s a need to end such madness by this incompetent administration. There’s an urgency to junk Aquino’s Palm-Oil Industry Roadmap and to put an end to land and crop-conversion to this country’s agricultural lands. We need to distribute lands to the farmers and provide appropriate technologies and sufficient support to them. Also, we need to sincerely solve the problem of rice smuggling and rice cartels in this country. (davaotoday.com)

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