Develop local agriculture first, industry group tells Duterte
The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) said the incoming Duterte administration should prioritize the development of local agriculture instead of giving “unwarranted incentives” to foreign investors.
Interaksyon reported that SINAG was alarmed by the part in Duterte’s eight-point economic agenda that would open up the country to foreign direct investments by lifting foreign ownership restrictions.
SINAG said foreign investment ventures have led to “various social and environmental problems, loss of livelihoods and wholesale displacement of rural communities.”
It urged the incoming administration not to allow foreign investments in agricultural and fisheries production and processing, whether small-scale or commercial.
It said the local agriculture sector is more capable of rebuilding the rural economy if supported by government.
SINAG submitted a list of priorities for the Duterte administration, which includes food self-sufficiency and significant rural livelihood opportunities, reforms for the Bureau of Customs and Department of Agriculture to end smuggling of agricultural products, and the substantial increase in the Department of Agriculture’s budget to at least P300 billion annually or at least 10 percent of the national budget.