“Let’s not worry about land conversion. They mean progress,” the senator said here Tuesday in an interview after her speech during the 24th anniversary celebration of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC).
She said the major concern should be how to make the lands used in agricultural endeavors more productive for the farmers to earn more and be able to support their children’s needs particularly in pursuing education and nutrition for a secure future.
Earlier reports indicated that between 1988, when the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) took effect, and 2016, a total of 97,592.5 hectares of agricultural land were approved for conversion to non-agricultural purposes. The provinces near Metro Manila, like Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Bulacan had the highest land conversion rate.
“The farmers don’t need to have big tract of lands to be very productive. What they need are technologies, how to compute to know how much they are making for their labors, apply for loans in banks rather than getting 5-6 loans, or to empower them for their own benefi ts,” Villar said.
She said technologies can solve the problems about the low income of those engaged in agriculture. Sad to say, she added, the implementation of programs designed to bail out the farmers from poverty is not successful and that many big things are thought of rather than trying to solve the basic problems confronting the farmers.
She said she would file a senate resolution that would require heads of agencies in charge of food production for them to give information on how programs are implemented. If need be, proper legislation will be sought in order to solve inadequacies in the correct implementation of their respective programs.