Farmers group to government: Help the small farmers 

QUEZON CITY, Nov. 4 (PIA) - Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka  (PAKISAMA) Executive Director Raul Socrates C. Banzuela, in the recent Dagyaw 2020: Open Government Virtual Town Hall Meeting, appeals to the government for help for small farmers — the vulnerable sector. 

According to Banzuela, there are three key challenges faced by member farmers and fisherfolk ---  low commodity prices (e.g. palay, coconut, corn); supplies and market access, and jobs for the landless during the lockdown especially to those from communities that shifted to eco-tourism for income to feed their family.

Further, he pointed out that the main issue is the ‘scale and substantive reach’ of government assistance through programs especially to the vulnerable sector.

“How much of these programs really redound to the farmers, especially kung pag-uusapan ang issue ng patronage [in] politics… The dynamics in the field ‘kung hindi ka kakampi ni Kapitan,  you may not get the project’... and programs are rice-centric,” he said.

He added that out of the 12M people in the agriculture and fishery business,  very few are assisted through government programs because services are only delivered through functional organizations -- i.e the most organized are the 8,000 irrigators' associations which have 1.2M members out of 2.5M rice farmers and farm workers --- thus, only one issue is addressed, and to only a few;  considering that there are many other services needed for farmers to thrive such as market access, technology, etc.     

More so, he emphasized that we have to help farmers organize themselves for them to benefit from the different programs;  and, have skilled managers in their cooperatives to be able to expand their reach and professionalize their services.

He pointed out that there are half a million hectares of land still for distribution, the biggest landholdings have not been distributed -- "Malaking hamon ito... There are still 2-3M landless farmers who can benefit especially those land reform beneficiaries.” 

“Well, finally… we have to consider as an issue of vulnerability… there is this end local communist armed conflict…  and then we have a law,  anti-terrorism law which if not done very well would result to some... hindi magandang red-tagging…  to the point na yung mga legitimate groups ay maaaring mawala na  ng serbisyo [benefits from program services] ang kanilang members sa gobyerno,” said Banzuela.       

He concluded by saying that we have to rally all sectors to end hunger by 2030; thus, proposing the following:

  1. Effective partnering with agricultural cooperatives and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in most programs  especially Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra sa COVID-19  [popularly called ‘Plant, Plant, Plant’]
  2. Fast tracking Asset Reform implementation to address the most vulnerable landless peoples
  3. Building COMMUNITY FOOD HUBS linking directly farmers and consumers; expanding KADIWA -- a marketing strategy of the Department of Agriculture which directly connects the food producers to the consumers, thereby lessening the cost of the products -- to ensure participation of various CSOs and cooperatives.                                         (MCG/PIA-IDPD/RSCB)



Source: Philippines Information Agency (

Post a Comment