(Agri)Change is coming: Duterte, right person for agri reform
Besides his objective to eradicate crime, corruption and illegal drug trade, presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte also identified smuggling as a priority target to promote an environment conducive to agricultural development.
Smuggling rate increased from 28% in 2010 to 36% in 2014, which was detrimental to agricultural development. In recent events, agriculture had always been neglected, as compared to industry. The Classification and Valuation Committee of the Bureau of Customs includes the Department of Trade and industry, but not the Department of Agriculture (DA). In several committee meetings, DA also did not send an official representative for agriculture.
A recent publication also did not mention agriculture in the identification of key economic managers: “Those who will hold the trade and industry, finance, public works, energy, budget, and economic planning portfolios.”
Ernesto Ordoñez, in his May 24 publication, believes that that presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte is the right person to do an overhaul in the management of the current agricultural system.
In April 16, Duterte was the only candidate who decided to meet with the five coalition who aimed to engage the presidential candidates on their respective agriculture agendas for a one-hour interview on their platforms and agricultural roadmaps.
Duterte came ready for the interview. He mentioned his commitment to install agriculture roadmaps and management systems, improve insurance and credit access, provide strong and accessible DA guidance for the 17,000 extension workers entrusted to the Local Government Units (LGUs), guarantee fair international trade with equitable subsidies and reduced smuggling, overhaul agrarian reform with support services, and address fisher folk poverty through a systems approach.