Isko vows to boost agriculture

IF ELECTED president, Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso said that he will invest in agriculture to ensure food security.

"Kung papalarin tayo (If we get lucky), we will continue to invest in the number one threat to national security, which is food security. The best way to do it, buhayin muli, palakasin muli ang akademya sa agrikultura (revive, strengthen agricultural schools)," the Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer said during his recent visit to the University of the Philippines campus in Los Baños, Laguna.

"Mamumuhunan tayo lalo na dito, magagaling talaga ang mga teacher dito pagdating sa pagkain o agrikultura (We will invest here, we have exceptional teachers here when it comes to food or agriculture). So, we will support them someday and we will invest in our teachers," he added.

UPLB has played an influential role in Asian agriculture and biotechnology due to its pioneering efforts in plant breeding and bioengineering, particularly in the development of high-yielding and pest-resistant crops. It also hosts a number of local and international research centers, including the International Rice Research Institute, Asean Center for Biodiversity, World Agroforestry Centre, and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture.

Other institutions specializing in agriculture research are the Philippine Rice Research Institute, which specializes in developing high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies for farmers; and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, which is mandated to generate, extend and commercialize appropriate agriculture and fishery postharvest and mechanization technologies.

"So, I think it's high time for us to invest in our teachers, develop them, equip them, our institutions, then the farmers para magaan naman 'yung kanilang kita (for them to have easy profit)," Domagoso said.

He vowed to support and protect Filipino farmers and the country's food producers to ensure that there is food on the table of every Filipino family.

Agriculture is one of the main pillars of Domagoso's 10-point Bilis Kilos Economic Agenda, which will be his administration's guiding principles to accelerate human and economic growth should he win in the May 2022 polls.

He aims to raise the income of farmers to the level of average Filipino workers by lowering the cost of agricultural production; providing risk-free capitals; building more irrigation systems while improving the efficiency of existing ones; and establishing the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, among others.

Domagoso vowed to buy the surplus produce of farmers at the right price; issue clear guidelines on the strict importation of agricultural products to make sure that local producers can sell their products first and clamp down on the smuggling of agriculture products to protect the interests of local producers.