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PIA Press Release

Budget amendment for food security proposed

by Rey Anthony Chiu

Tagbilaran City (20 October) -- TWO days before the World Food Day celebrations and with farmers literally shouting their clamor for agricultural reforms, Akbayan Representative Risa Hontivieros Baraquel told Boholano farmers of a planned amendment to the Congress approved budget to inject the funds for agricultural reforms. This came even before the Senate takes up the Congress approved budget for 2007.

Coming in as guest speaker in a gathering, which banners “Investing in Food Security by Enhancing Sustainable Community-based Initiatives, Baraquel said the amendment would put in P3.7B funds for fisheries and agriculture sector reforms.

That day, October 18, at the Metrocenter Hotel, Rep. Baraquel along with Bhutan Minister of Agriculture Lyonpo Sangay Ngudep and Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Jesus Emmanuel Parras were guests to the gathering of farmers from the Philippines, Laos, Bhutan, Thailand, south and Central Vietnam and the representatives from the Farmers’ Consultative Council.

Reasoning out the Akbayan proposal, Baraquel said the amendment only comes a measly 2% of the trillion budget, and that would define the country’s agricultural reform directions in the next years.

The infusion of funds, it if would be approved by the Senate go for the construction of small water impounding systems projects, development of sustainable agriculture technologies, establishment of sustainable agriculture demonstration farms, farm to market roads, post harvest facilities and resources planning to empower farmers.

Reiterating her party’s commitment for the promotion of farmer’s rights with the Peasant Week, the party-list solon assured of the government’s support to sustainable agriculture development advocacy and its strong bias for alternative agriculture.

The Bohol gab also went back to trace culture and heritage in agricultural production by enlisting the youth in efforts to ensure agricultural-biodiversity for food security. Moreover, it also treated into farmer’s rights promotion especially on their efforts for sustainable community based initiatives and a sprouting alternative trend to modern agriculture. Similarly, the gab also took on the farmer’s rights in the lives and culture of communities.

Finding a separate niche in agricultural development in the proliferation of commercialized agri-sector development directions, Bohol farmers cognizant to protecting culture and heritage as well as the environment from undue destruction went the way for sustainable agriculture by applying the traditional and endemic technologies.

The recent movement also has non-government organizations actively putting in their resources and expertise to shape up a group called the Bohol Integrated Sustainable Agricultural Development for an environment friendly agriculture development.

In the first province to declare its anti-genetically modified organism stand and directions towards organic agriculture, the move fits into the entirety of the sustainable agri-development plan farmers have crafted. (PIA) [top]

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