Senatorial candidates Escudero, Cayetano vow to push for higher agri budget, amendments to Rice Tariffication law

Sorsogon Governor Francis “Chiz” Escudero and former House Speaker and Taguig Representative Alan Peter Cayetano have vowed to pursue a higher budget for the agriculture sector should they win in the senatorial race in the May 2022 elections.

Both senatorial candidates also said that among their top priority agenda in the upcoming polls include investments in cold storage facilities, amendments to the Rice Tariffication Law and promotion of agriculture among the youth.

Escudero said cold storage facilities are important as it will play a significant role in upgrading the lives of Filipino farmers’ livelihood status and enable them to transport farm goods to unserved areas.

Acquiring cold storage would also help preserve the quality of farm goods, enable farmers to raise their prices, and at the same time, serve the needs of locations that do not produce these goods.

“We lack cold storage facilities. We can’t assure the good quality of our produce without cold storage in each province. Why don’t we put up incentives for (those investing) in cold storage?” Escudero said during the online forum Halalan 2022 Para sa Agrikultura organized by the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI), Alyansa Agrikultura and three other organizations.

Cayetano, for his part, said integrating successful small farming models into the national program is needed in order to upscale agricultural production.

The Taguig representative also said he will seek a higher budget for Laguna Lake which is teeming with so much fishing opportunity but only has a P40-million budget.

And since the average of farmers in the Philippines is already at older side of 53 now, Cayetano said it is high time that agriculture should be promoted among young people as “desirable and profitable.”

“You can see (poor) farmers shown on TV. But if they watch European or American movies where farmers are rich and using drone and high tech devices our young people would be convinced to take up farming,” said Cayetano.