Mindanao can beef up nation’s food supply, says lawmaker

A lawmaker on Sunday called on the Department of Agriculture (DA) to utilize the vast agricultural resources of Mindanao to address the shortage of onions, garlic, and other farm products.

Surigao del Sur 1st District Rep. Romeo Momo Sr. made the statement after lawmakers and the DA discussed the interventions being done by their department to address current issues affecting the local agriculture sector.

“Our province of Surigao del Sur and the large portion of Mindanao have very rich and fertile lands, as well as good climate, which are greatly conducive to farming and other agri-production activities,” he said.

“I strongly believe that given due share in the national government’s priority in agriculture and rural development, Mindanao can address the shortage in onion and other farm products.”

Momo appealed to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., who is also the head of the DA, to likewise give focus on the potential of the Mindanao in supplying the country’s food requirement.

‘Full-time DA chief’

Meanwhile, with the frequent travels of the chief executive of the country and the pressing issues confronting agriculture, the food and agricultural unions of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) are calling for the appointment of a full-time Agriculture secretary.

“President Marcos Jr.’s decision to appoint himself as the chief of the Department of Agriculture while also holding other responsibilities only add to the long list of issues plaguing the sector,” said the FFW in a statement.

“The rampant smuggling, lack of investment, corruption and governance problems, and institutional issues are just some of the major challenges facing the agriculture industry.”

According to the group, the recent announcement of plans to import sugar further highlights the need for “a dedicated and qualified” DA chief to address these issues and bring stability to the sector.

FFW said the sector requires a full-time DA chief, who is an expert in agricultural economics with “pro-farmers-and-workers orientation.”

 The group urged the president to reconsider his decision and appoint a qualified and experienced individual to this critical position as soon as possible and give the said appointee his full support.


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