Don’t scrim on agriculture, Magsaysay tells government

Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay is urging the government to revitatlize the agricultural sector of the country to make the country self sufficient in terms of suppling grains to its people.

“Its such a shame that we are an agricultural country and yet we have resorted to importing grains from our Asian neighbors for the past years. It is saddening because before, they were the ones who came to the Philippines to learn in IRRI, but now, they are miles ahead of us in terms of agricultural development,” she said.

Magsaysay made the comment after the consistent high prices of grain in the world market brought about by fears of low supplies and stocks attrributed to bad harvests. This, according to the UN food agency, may result in a higher inflation rate in the coming months.

The lawmaker said that if we had ample supply of grain to feed Filipinos, the country would not be affected by any global price increases or inflation on a global scale. If the agriculture sector would reach its full potential, the Philippines could well be exporting grain instead of importing them.

“Supporting the needs of the agricultural sector would be a sound investment for the government. We have rich lands, and we have very capable farmers and agriculture experts that will help steer the ndustry into new heights. However, the government needs to first understand the importance of the industry and commit to it by providing ample budget to the Department of Agriculture so that reforms and developments may be instituted,” she said.

She cited the 2011 budget, wherein economic managers only allotted P38 billion for the agricultural sector which is lower compared to its P54 billion budget in 2009.

“If we scrimp on agriculture, what will be the use of all the studies and innovations the country is embarking on? With insufficient funds, even to irrigate the lands in the country, how will we have good harvest?”

Based on studies, the De-partment of Agriculture needs P50-P60 billion annually to support its various develop-ment programs throughout the country.#