Legarda Renews Call for Strict Implementation of Agri-Agra LawSeptember 20, 2016
Senator Loren Legarda renewed her call for the strict implementation of Republic Act 10000 or the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009 during the hearing for the proposed 2017 budget of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
Legarda, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance and co-author of RA 10000, said that the agriculture sector is crucial for attaining economic development and the country’s food sufficiency target but various challenges face the sector, which has led to the crafting and enactment of the law.
“Our aim is to support our farmers by allowing them to expand their livelihood, improve their equipment and increase crop production through the Agri-Agra Law, which will secure constant harvest and will decrease our dependence on imported rice, vegetables and produce from other countries. If only we implemented the law strictly, then we can truly help our farmers,” she explained.
The Agri-Agra Law requires banks to allocate 25 percent of their loanable funds to the agriculture sector to finance the acquisition of work animals, farm equipment or machinery, seeds, fertilizers, livestock, feeds and/or other similar items for farm production. Of the 25 percent, 10 percent should be allocated to agrarian reform beneficiaries and 15 percent to the agriculture sector.
Legarda also said that while trainings and capacity building activities are also important, the DAR should focus more on providing credit and equipment or shared service facilities for agrarian reform beneficiaries.
The Senator added that upgrading of farming systems and machinery is important now that climate change has also been greatly affecting the agriculture sector.
Legarda also said that as the DAR targets to introduce climate adaptation practices to agrarian reform beneficiaries, it should include operational details such as the establishment of rainwater catchment systems and vegetable gardens, among others.
“The programs of government should be those that our people would really feel. Let us give more funds for support services, those programs that will go directly to and immediately benefit our farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries,” said Legarda.