Sandra Cabangon

In his 2023 State of the Nation Address (SONA), president and agriculture chief Ferdinand Marcos Jr. recounted accomplishments and future plans in the agriculture sector, which include a rise in supply, new technologies, amending laws, distributing lands and machinery, and providing fuel and fertilizer discount vouchers.

Photo Courtesy of Froilan Gallardo/ABS-CBN News / Philippine Star/Micahel Varcas

“Our aim is to boost our local agricultural production – through consolidation, modernization, mechanization, and improvement of value chains; augmented by timely and calibrated importation, as needed,” the President stated.

By including the usage of science-based analysis to enhance the determination of appropriate fishing areas, Marcos announced that the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 or R.A. no. 8550, as should the Cooperative Code of 2008, shall be amended with the help of the congress in forming cooperatives.

Moreover, farmers will be united using farm and fisheries clustering, along with livestock multiplier farms. Farm and fishery of 300 clusters, consisting of almost 900 cooperatives and over 200,000 hectares of farming land, have been identified.

Bio-fertilizers and other new technologies will also be employed to improve the harvest of farmers, and also lessen the burden of costs brought by more expensive and imported fertilizers. In line with this, the government provided 28,000 new machines and equipment to different parts of the Philippines. 

Additionally, Marcos claimed that his administration supplied more than five million rice, corn, and vegetable seeds, along with more than 100,000 coconut seeds that were planted on almost 10,000 hectares of land across the country. He remarked that all seeds are novel, hybrid, and of high quality.

Meanwhile, fuel and fertilizer discounts brought relief amidst the rising prices of gasoline and fertilizers. According to the president, the fertilizers donated by China were instantly given to poor farmers.

It can be recalled that the Department of Agriculture distributed fertilizer vouchers in 2022 through the Fertilizer Discount Voucher Scheme, which includes 134 corn farmers from Cebu.

The Geo-Agri map of farm-to-market roads was improved in order to better connect farms to stores. In line with this, 600 kilometers of farm-to-market roads were built in different parts of the country. 

The country will soon also have access to new medicine and vaccines against sicknesses that may plague animals. The biosecurity of levels of pet animals is also improved to combat sickness. 

It was also stated that as promised, agrarian reforms will be implemented. In the past year, more than 70,000 titles of land were given to beneficiaries of the agrarian reform. The Agrarian Emancipation Act that erased the P57 million peso debt of more than 600,000 beneficiaries was also implemented under the Agrarian Emancipation Act.

Edited by Annika Gorgeana V. Maningo