Senator Imee Marcos has warned that the country needs to improve the distribution of agricultural produce from farmer to consumer amid forecasts of a global food crisis this year.
Marcos, who chairs the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, said that an effective distribution system will not only enhance the cycle of food production and supply but also clarify the amounts of rice, sugar, vegetables, pork, beef, poultry, and fish that the country needs to import.
“A poor distribution system creates scarcity amid bounty, waste amid want,” Marcos said.
“We need to redirect the flow of income from import cartels toward our local farmers and provide the lowest food prices possible for the public,” she added.
To achieve those ends, Marcos said the next administration must carry out a “full-scale revival of the original Kadiwa system” and expand a program encouraging young farmers to increase national food supply.
She called today’s sporadic operation of the Kadiwa system “a sorry version of its original intent, with no end to the stories of fruit and vegetable harvests left to rot.”
“We have to rebuild what once was a reliable institution dismantled by one vindictive president, who sold its main storage and distribution hub – the Food Terminal in Taguig – to a favored tycoon,” Marcos said of the government-run system that brought down food prices in the 70’s by buying directly from farmers and selling their produce without profit.
Marcos also hopes the next administration devotes a budget for the Young Farmers Challenge (YFC) program that she proposed in Senate Bill 884 shortly after becoming senator in 2019.
“This advocacy must become more than a prize-giving contest supported by the Department of Agriculture. To make a bigger difference, other government departments and all local government units should be involved,” Marcos explained.
“We need more young farmers with new ideas for a dying vocation whose practitioners now average 57 years old,” she also said.(PR)