A thousand and one problems waiting for Marcos Jr. at the Department of Agriculture — farmers

The President-elect and incoming agriculture secretary Bongbong Marcos Jr. should brace himself to be deluged with long-standing issues and problems concerning the agriculture sector. Sa ngayon na itinalaga niya ang sarili bilang kalihim ng Department of Agriculture, napakaraming isyu at suliranin ang dapat niyang harapin at bigyang solusyon

Marcos Jr. is now tasked to alleviate the livelihood and status of the country’s main productive forces — farmers, and fishers — our food security frontliners.

“Among the tall order for Marcos Jr. as Agri chief is to address the skyrocketing prices of fertilizer that is hurting farmers,” according to Danilo Ramos, Chairperson of KMP.

“Sobra na ang itinaas ng presyo ng abono. Marami nang magsasaka ang hindi halos makapagtanim dahil hindi na nila makaya ang presyo ng farm inputs habang kulang o wala silang natatanggap na ayuda mula sa DA,” the peasant leader added.

KMP said fertilizer prices have gone up by more than 300 percent since the pandemic — from P800 per 50-kg bag in 2020 to a staggering P3,000 per 50-kg bag in May this year.  

Another immediate issue that Marcos Jr. will face at the DA is the Rice Liberalization Law that wreaked havoc on the livelihood of rice farmers. Malaki rin ang inilugi ng mga magsasaka dahil sa bagsak na presyo ng palay mula 2018 dahil sa buhos ng imported na bigas. It is now up to Marcos Jr. and his supermajority in Congress to heed the broad demand to repeal RA 11203.

Marcos Jr. will also have to solve the rampant and unstoppable smuggling and illegal importation of vegetables and agricultural products mostly from China.

“We dare Marcos Jr. to weed out the so-called untouchables among high-ranking officials involved in smuggling,” Ramos added.

KMP urged farmers and the public to remain vigilant and be watchful of Marcos Jr.’s policy pronouncements as agriculture secretary. ###

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