by Manny Piñol

When I raised my right hand to take my oath before President Rody Duterte in Malacañang Heroes Hall yesterday, my thoughts brought me back to the days when our father, a teacher and farmer himself, led his sons to the farm in the morning of Saturdays and Sundays to work.

As early as those years, I already understood the hardship of a farmer’s life.

Work was tough but the rewards were so little.

I know this was the reason why many young boys like me left the farm in search of a better job in the big cities.

This is the reason why the poorest of the poor in the country today belong to the farming and fisheries sector.

Under the leadership of President Duterte, himself a farm boy who is now the tenant of Malacañang, things will change for the Filipino farmers and fishermen.

Programs to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture under my stewardship will be based on what I clearly saw as the problems confronting productivity and profitability in these two areas.

For starters, I will initiate a relentless effort to ensure that there will be enough rice for the Filipinos while at the same time assuring the rice farmers of a decent income for their hardships.

Then, there will be a program on how to increase the production of meat, poultry and dairy products to supply the growing demand for these commodities.

Third, the DA will focus on marketable high value products like coconut, rubber, oil palm, cacao, coffee, abaca, banana, pineapple, tropical fruits and those which are needed in markets overseas.

To ensure that the farmers and fisherfolk will be able to improve their productivity, the DA will intensify its technology training, financing and marketing assistance.

And of course, as directed by the President, there will be a serious and relentless campaign to end corruption in the department.

For me, yesterday’s oath taking signalled a new day for the Filipino farmers and fishermen – a day of hope.

My wish is for farming and fishing to be profitable so that young boys like me would no longer have to leave the farms and the seas to look for jobs in the big city.

The farmer’s son is back to where he finds joy.

SOURCE: Manny Piñol


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