By Joann Villanueva
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday emphasized the importance of agriculture on the domestic economy’s growth, reiterating his commitment to prioritize the sector to ensure food security.
In his speech during the distribution of projects and programs at the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, Marcos said he took upon himself to head the agriculture department because agriculture plays a major role in the economy’s recovery based on their studies and plans.
“Bilang inyong Pangulo ay asahan ninyo na laging susuportahan ang agrikultura ng ating administrasyon (As your President, expect that our administration will always support the agriculture sector,” he said.
Marcos also underscored the importance for the country to have the capability to produce its own farm machineries, which is currently being done at the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) in collaboration with foreign partners.
He said PhilMech has manufactured machineries for planting, cultivation, harvesting, as well as those intended for post-production, and this is on top of the agency’s other services like loans and transport services to farmers and consumers.
He said availability of farm machineries from PhilMech lessens the need for the country to import similar equipment, which was the situation during the pandemic to help boost food production.
Relatively, he said the government is continuously creating plans and measure such as redesigning dams’ construction and solar power use to ensure a sufficient supply of water ahead of the looming El Niño.
He said the government is also eyeing the improvement in research and development to boost agricultural productivity.
“Yan ang ating mga pinag-aaralan nang mabuti upang tayo naman ay makikita namin na gaganda po ang ani dahil maganda ang research and development natin sa iba’t ibang varieties (This is what we’re studying carefully so that we can see improvement in harvest because we have good research and development on different varieties,” he added.
Upon arrival, the President inspected several agricultural machineries, technologies and products currently displayed inside the CLSU. These equipment include tractors, harvesters, dryers and many others that will be utilized for agricultural productivity in Nueva Ecija.
He also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Agriculture and Fishery Development Cooperation between the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) and Agricultural Training Institute, and Kyungpook National University (KNU) of Korea.
Marcos also led the distribution of various assistance consisting of fundings for the construction of agricultural facilities and financial grants for beneficiaries, which include farmers’ cooperatives and associations.
Central Luzon is known as the Rice Granary of the Philippines given its huge rice production capacity, with an average of around 3.66 million metric tons (MMT) for 2022-22.
It is also the biggest onion producer in the country, with the 2022 level at 131,547,77 MT from a land area of around 7,866 hectares.
Also, the province has around 13,945 commercial livestock and poultry raisers with 36,907 heads of livestock animals, 10.02 million heads of poultry animals, and 33,912 heads of swine.
Similarly, there are around 203,434 backyard raisers with 124,468 heads of livestock animals, 750,284 heads of poultry animals and 43,384 heads of swine. (PNA)