BAGUIO CITY – The agriculture department must starting working out the shift from the traditional subsistence farming to the farm enterprise management and development in order to maximize the contribution of the country’s agriculture sector to the desired economic growth, administration senatorial bet and former Presidential adviser on agriculture Francis Pangilinan said here recently.
The former two-term lawmaker said government must also capacitate the agriculture industry stakeholders so that they will be empowered to work in groups like the organization of associations and cooperatives instead of their traditional individualistic attitude for them to be able to become competitive in the global market.
“Farmers must to learn to work through their groups so that they will have a chance to have a greater bargaining power in the marketing of their crops and in dealing with suppliers of farm inclements for them to be able to purchase in bulk and have a lower buying price compared to individually marketing their crops and purchasing their respective farm inputs,” Pangilinan stressed.
Pangilinan explained organizing farmers into associations and cooperatives will help them access sustainable markets for their produce that will translate to guaranteed income which will make them economically stable that will improve their living condition.
According to him, in terms of dealing with the suppliers of farm inputs, groups of farmers will have a greater bargaining agreement if they work in groups so that they will be able to avail of maximum discounts making the prices of farm inclement much cheaper compared to individually buying them from farm suppliers.
Pangilinan claimed government must spearhead the organization of associations or cooperatives of farmers and empower them to work as a group so that they will have a bolder voice in dictating the buying prices of their commodities and for them to be able to get much cheaper prices of farm inputs.
He added the name of the game in the global market is stiff competition and the only way for Filipino farmers to be able to market their produce is through competitive pricing and the quality of their produce with the support of concerned government agencies which will spearhead the strengthening of the groups in the grassroots level.
One of the major economic drivers in the country, he said, is agriculture which has not yet been maximized because of the individualistic attitude of farmers who refuse to embrace the current trends of the production and marketing of their produce.
Pangilinan underscored the importance of government providing the needs of farmers through the organization of strong associations and cooperatives so that they will be able to hurdle the obstacles that will confront them once they want to sell their produce in the global markets.
The former agriculture development czar cited the need for government to be bullish in uplifting the state of agriculture in the countryside so that those producing the food that Filipinos eat should not be left behind in terms of improving the living condition of their families.
By Dexter A. See