President Benigno S. Aquino III said the country’s agriculture sector has achieved a lot in two years, as he asked the public to continue supporting the reforms being initiated by his administration for the benefit of the Filipino people and the country as a whole.
“Kung may isa man pong sektor na talagang sumasalamin sa kung gaano kaepektibo ang ating krusada sa tuwid na daan, ito ay ating sektor ng agrikultura, sa pangunguna ng Kagawaran ng Pagsasaka,” the President said in his speech at the Makina-Saka 2012 Agri-Machinery Roadshow in Pasay City on Thursday.
“Talaga naman pong sa pamumuno ng ating Kalihim Proceso Alcala, ang dating pambansang kamalig na pinagmumulan ng kaliwa’t kanang anumalya, ngayon ay bukal ng mabubuting balita.”
Under the Aquino administration, the government was able to cut the volume of rice imports last year from 1.3 million metric tons to 850,000 metric tons, the President said adding that for this year, the country will only import 500,000 metric tons for national consumption.
The agriculture department also expects achieving rice self-sufficiency next year and the country may also start shipping out rice to other countries especially if weather disturbances do not affect production next year.
The government has also invested on the agriculture sector to reduce wastage, the President said.
Last year, the government allocated P1 billion to buy more than 2,300 units of postharvest machinery and other equipment.
For this year, the government increased the budget to P2.6 billion to buy 7,000 farm machineries that will be distributed to farmer organizations and local government units throughout the country, the President said.
The government has also invested on the country’s irrigation system to improve food production, he added.
The President also acknowledged the need to enhance research and development in the country, saying that the state colleges and universities and the Department of Agriculture must work together to help agriculture professionals, farmers and growers with the use of modern technology and farming methods.
“Hinihimok din po natin ang pribadong sektor na patuloy na makibalikat sa pagpapayabong ng ating agrikultura. Ang pagbabayanihan natin ang susi upang matiyak ang pangmatagalang seguridad sa pagkain, gayundin sa mas matatag na ekonomiya ng bansa,” he said.
“Nananalig ako na ang tagumpay ng Makina-Saka 2012 ay magiging isang dambuhalang hakbang tungo sa mas moderno, mas kapaki-pakinabang, at mas matatag na sektor ng pagsasaka,” the President added.
The President also asked every Filipino to strengthen the spirit of volunteerism to empower their fellowmen noting that every seed of reform sowed today will benefit the next generations of Filipinos.
“Samahan po ninyo ako — Ituloy po natin ang pagtahak sa tuwid na landas, at atin pong pitasin ang mas mayabong na bukas,” he said.