Fishers group doubts Dar’s fanciful agri growth target
Manila, Philippines – The fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) raised doubts on Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar’s targeted 2% growth for the agriculture sector and branded it as fanciful, baseless and defective. The group based its claim on the various issues hounding major sectors such as crops, livestock and fisheries.
“Nakakamangha ang pagpapakawala ni Agri Sec Dar ng maling pag-asa, habang bagsak ang palay, at binabagabag ng African swine fever (ASF) ang livestock, at ang fisheries halos walang growth sa volume,” Pamalakaya National Chairperson and former Anakpawis Party-list solon Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap said in a press statement.
(Agri Sec Dar’s peddling of false hopes is amazing, amid palay production is distraught, livestock is hounded by the African swine fever and fisheries production volume is stagnant.)
He added that palay value of production for the first half of the year already posted a negative 5% growth as compared to last year’s. The fisherfolk leader blamed this on the implementation of the Republic Act 11203 Rice Liberalization Law and government inaction during the onslaught of the el niño.
“Kahit noong 2018 pa, ang pagpalya ng procurement ng NFA ay nagbunga na ng pagbagsak ng farmgate price ng palay, at lumala ito sa unang kwarto ng taon nang ipatupad ang RA 11203. Sa pagkalugi ng mga magsasaka, maaaring hindi na sila nakapagsaka at ang mga nakapag-ani naman ay humarap sa bagsak na farmgate price. Kapag bagsak ito, bagsak din ang value of production,” he stressed.
(Since 2018, when NFA’s procurement was already dwindling, it already trigged the lowering of farmgate prices, and this worsened in the first quarter when the RA 11203 was enacted. Farmers who went bankrupt were forced to stop production, or those who were able to harvest faced lower farmgate prices. If these are down, so does the value of production.)
In the livestock sector, the government has already culled 52,000 hogs as part of the protocol against the ASF. The Anakpawis Party-list estimated the value of the damage to reach P457 million. The country had a 12.7 million hog inventory last year.
“Ang bilang ng mga pinatay dahil sa ASF ay umabot na sa 0.4% ng total inventory na 12.7 million heads ng baboy noong 2018. Tapos ngayon ay nagbabalita si Dar ng growth sa agri sector,” Hicap said.
(The total numbered of hogs culled due to ASF has already reach around 0.4% of the 2018’s total inventory of 12.7 million heads. Now, Dar is blabbering about growth in the agri sector.)
Finally, the fisheries sector has already posted a negligible growth of 0.92% in the volume of production last year to 4.35 million metric tons. First and second quarter volumes posted 0.9% and 0.3% growth, respectively. Losing sectors were municipal and commercial fishing.
“Nauna na kaming bagsak ang huli. Pinalala pa ito na ang West Philippine Sea na traditional fishing grounds ng commercial fishing vessel natin ay inagaw pa ng China. Kaya, lahat ng major sector, palay, baboy, at isda, ay may krisis na hinaharap bunga ng todong liberalisasyon, ngunit si Dar ay nagpapakawala pa rin ng mga paasang pahayag na akala mo ay may gagawing tunay na reporma sa agrikultura,” Hicap ended.
(We in the fisheries sector fell early. This was worsened by China’s snatching of the traditional commercial fishing grounds in the West Philippine Sea. Thus, all major sectors, palay, swine and fish are in crises due to intensified liberalization, but Dar continues to peddle deception, as if he will carry out genuine fundamental reforms in agriculture.) ###