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PIA Press Release

LLPI pushes special fund for sustainable agriculture

Koronadal City (30 October) -- THE nongovernment organization La Liga Policy Institute (LLPI) is mulling the creation of a special fund to strengthen Philippine agriculture by empowering local government units (LGUs) to implement locally-funded programs that will boost local food production systems.

Roland Cabigas, managing director of La Liga Policy Institute (LLPI) said the poor performance of the agriculture sector, as well as the perennial flooding that sets back rural development including the capacity to provide adequate food for the estimated 90 million Filipinos, call for the creation of the Sustainable Agriculture Fund or SAF.

This could be done by earmarking a portion of real property tax and idle land tax for the purpose, he said.

The creation of a special fund for sustainable agriculture, like the special purpose fund for education, LLPI believes, is imperative considering the aggravation caused by climate change-triggered extreme weather events such as drought and typhoons to the agriculture sector.

The damage caused by the two recent typhoons, Ondoy and Pepeng, is projected to reach P30 billion, thereby severely affecting the country's food production targets this year, Cabigas said.

LLPI, a policy research and advocacy group, believes that SAF will allow LGUs to implement locally-funded programs to boost food production systems through the provincial and municipal or city agriculture offices.

The group is proposing that a 1% share from the real property tax, as well as a portion of idle land tax, collected by LGUs for the purpose.

Agriculture, which is already a devolve function, requires LGUs to come up with programs to boost food production systems. However, most LGUs rely on the Department of Agriculture (DA) which also has limited funding capacity to address the needs of the sector unique to every town, city or province.

The provision of support services to farmers is subject to political considerations, which explains the highly selective implementation of important projects, including subsidy to farmers, to boost food production, Cabigas explained. (PIA 12 aca) [top]

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