Senator Zubiri

NANAWAGAN si Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri sa Department of Agriculture (DA) at Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) na tulungan at suportahan ang local agricultural sector na makabangon dulot ng ipinatupad na community quarantines sanhi ng COVID-19 pandemic.

“In these times, we should be buying Filipino—rice, livestock, local produce, sugar, and so on. The basic rule in food security is to protect the most vulnerable, and that means protecting not only our consumers but also our producers,” sabi ni Zubiri.

Aniya, dapat na tangkilikin ang mga produktong lokal upang makarekober ang mga magsasaka at mangingisda sa kanilang kabuhayan.

“If our supply chains were functional, then those local products could have easily been redirected for the benefit of our households. Local governments could have bought out the supply intended for bulk buyers, and distributed those to constituents with limited or zero income. But what happened was that our farmers had to keep competing with imports. Food processors continued to use raw materials and ingredients that are imported,” giit ng senador.

Ayon kay Zubiri, malaking tulong ang inisyatibong binuo ng DTI kaugnay sa ‘buy local’ campaigns gaya ng Go Lokal! at PinasMuna Tayo kung saan ay maaaring makipagtulungan ang DA para sa agricultural sector.

“Beyond restricting imports, the DA and the DTI should also be providing logistical support to our farmers. The community quarantines have really hindered transportation, which has negatively affected the movement of produce. Our agricultural provinces are accumulating so much excess produce that’s being left to rot. Sayang. Sana nadadala natin sa mga lugar na nangangailangan,” giit ni Zubiri.

Gayundin, maaaring maglaan ng processing machines ang DTI para sa kapakinabangan ng produkto ng mga magsasaka upang kumita.

Partikular na tinukoy ng senador ang surplus ng kamatis sa Cordillera na puwedeng gawing tomato paste o kaya ay sun-dried tomatoes.

“We have to help our farmers find solutions. They have no income. They have limited mobility. It’s on the national government to coordinate with LGUs and figure out what to do.’ diin ni Zubiri.

Aniya, kung hindi matutulungan ang mga magsasaka, tiyak na hihinto lamang ang mga ito sa pagpa-farming na po­sibleng makaapekto sa presyo ng pagkain.

“This is not simply a branding issue of Filipino versus foreign food. This is an issue of lost income for millions of farmers who till small farms, backyard growers with as few as ten heads of swine or just hundreds of chicken. We should not forget that in the trade equation, the jobs of millions of farm workers matter. Our Filipino farmers face so many local problems, and they are batting zero against the undue influence of importers who are continuing their trade with no restrictions,” paliwanag ni Zubiri. VICKY CERVALES



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