Seven-point agriculture agenda

seven-point agriculture agenda

Seven-point agriculture agenda

Shortly before the Marcos administration began, I wrote of “seven deadly sins” in the historically flawed governance of our agriculture sector, our economy’s backbone (”Seven deadly sins,” 6/14/22). I’ve long argued that our agriculture’s sorry state comes not from a lack of knowledge or technology, which we once taught our neighbors. Rather, it traces to our age-old failure to enable our farmers to apply and benefit from that knowledge, due to problematic politics, flawed governance, and weak institutions in the sector. I shared these thoughts in a private meeting with Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Francis Tiu Laurel Jr., who asked me to elaborate on how to undo the seven sins. Of course, I have no illusions that my advice has taken any precedence over that of countless others, knowing that I am but one in a cacophony of voices constantly feeding advice, solicited or not, to the good secretary.

Those seven sins logically lead to a seven-point agenda, outlined here. Some may not agree with all of them, but I plan to revisit them when this administration ends in 2028, to see what has been done, and assess any significant improvements achieved.

One, let provinces lead in managing their farms and fisheries, to reverse the sin of persistent top-down management of the sector despite mandated devolution since 1991. To its credit, the previous administration already rolled out a long overdue province-led agriculture and fisheries extension system or Pafes. For it to work, the DA must limit itself to “steering,” but take full responsibility for capacitating the provinces for the “rowing,” including downloading much of its budget to them as matching grants.

Two, consolidate management of small farms into efficient production units, to correct the sin of failure to address loss of economies of scale from farm fragmentation. A Bureau

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