Duterte complains about lands converted to produce food for exports
President Rodrigo Duterte complained about the thousand of hectares of agriculture lands in Mindanao that have been converted in order to produce commodities largely meant for exports, which he sees as a major setback in order to make the country self sufficient when it comes to food.
“Karamihan kasi ng lupa sa Mindanao, almost… it’s almost a phenomenal thing. Yung karamihan ng lupa sa peripheral of these provinces, itong malapit sa siyudad. They’re almost converted into cash crop. Wala ng food crop. Ibig kong sabihin, ang tinatanim is for export. Pera. Wala na masyadong tanim doon na para pagkain,” Duterte said yesterday.
Duterte explained that if more and more lands would be used to plant “cash crops” like banana and pineapple, majority of Filipinos will remain hungry.
“It is a continuous thing right now that you convert so many lands there for cash crop. Saging, pineapple. Eh hindi ito makain ng Pilipino eh,” he said.
To recall, Mindanao has the largest contiguous banana plantation in the world, which is owned by Tagum Development Corp. (TADECO). TADECO also happens to be one of the major banana exporters in the world.
Multinational firm Dole Foods Corporation also has a big pineapple plantation in the region.
“So I do not think that we would be able really to reach the self-sufficiency. I respect (Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel) Piñol and your department that you can attain that self-sufficiency but provided we have to rationalize things there; that we have to reserve enough plants, where to plant for our own supply,” the President further said.