President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday vowed to strengthen the agricultural sector and continue to fight hunger across the country as he cited several government programs designed to help farmers and fishermen, which includes fuel discounts.
Speaking at the opening of Agrilink/Foodlink/Aqualink Trade Fairs 2022 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, Mr. Marcos assured the public he has been prioritizing the agriculture sector ever since the beginning of his term.
“The strengthening of the agricultural sector is the strengthening of survival, the strengthening of life. And that is how important we have always considered the agricultural sector. And that is why I took on the portfolio,” Mr. Marcos, who currently sits as Agriculture Secretary, said.
“We will build ourselves back better together with the people who have been our bedrock of strength and of sustenance, even in the most challenging times,” he said.
“But the work to improve our agricultural sector and improve the plight of our farmers and fisherfolk has only just begun. We need to continue to open more opportunities to improve their well-being,” the President said.
The Agrilink, Foodlink, Aqualink 2022, held at the World Trade Center, is the country’s premier international trade exhibition in agriculture, food, and aquaculture.
The Department of Agriculture currently distributes P5,000 each to farmers under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA) and P3,000 each under the Fuel Discount Program for Corn Farmers and Fisherfolk.
Mr. Marcos noted that as soon as he took office as President, he decided to take on the portfolio of the Secretary of Agriculture, not only to highlight the importance his administration puts on the agricultural sector but also to accelerate the development of the value chain.
“The strengthening of all our services that we give to our people in terms of food production, in terms of food supply, and our efforts to keep all our food products, all our agricultural commodities at a price that ordinary citizens can afford,” the President continued.
“We have allowed the agriculture sector to diminish in its importance and in its contribution to our GDP (gross domestic product), our contribution to the welfare of ordinary citizens, ordinary Filipinos,” he said.
“Occasions such as this are just the highly appropriate times for which we can remind ourselves that what we are doing is not only growing crops, not only expanding fisheries, not only helping our livestock growers but what we are doing is feeding a nation.”
In doing so, Mr. Marcos said it also provides the stability for the Philippines “to be able to look forward to the future and say we can progress from here because we have a strong foundation in our agricultural sector. Without a strong agricultural sector that is not possible,” he added.
“With our energies and resources combined, I am confident that we will not only achieve our goal of feeding the Filipino people but also achieve our dream of making the Philippines a leading agricultural resource hub in the region and the world,” the President said.