By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara yesterday endorsed the request by Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to provide more funding for the mechanization of the sugar industry.
Angara, who served as keynote speaker for the Philippine Sugarcane Farming Mechanization Expo, which took place at the Sugar Regulatory Administration compound in Bacolod City yesterday, said Piñol explained the agriculture sector does not have any “special laws,” but assistance in the budget is possible.
“We have asked the DA to [itemize] the areas where [funding] will be implemented,” the senator said.
He added, “[Government] should concentrate on the laws that we have, like free irrigation and the implementation of the Sugarcane Industry Development Act (SIDA), where there is funding.”
“We can pass as many laws but if there is no funding, it is not effective,” Angara pointed out.
He also called on the government to strengthen its farmer training programs on technological advancement and the utilization of new agricultural machinery “to improve the productivity and income especially small farmers.”
“Farming mechanization can increase land productivity by facilitating quality cultivation,” Angara said. “It can improve our farmers’ livelihood and ultimately reduce poverty.”
He added, under SIDA, sugarcane planters and farmers should be trained to utilize appropriate agricultural machinery and equipment necessary for the efficient planting, cultivation, harvesting, and handling of sugarcane./DGB, WDJ