Apart from a relentless crime-busting, the next pressing agenda President Duterte revealed during the campaign period is food affordability and availability. Solving food supply problem seems like a bigger challenge for it demands more resources and longer time period than fixing the drug menace, which in just a few months it’s already showing a massive success. But before he started off working as president, his indefatigable Agriculture Secretary in Manny Piñol spent a tremendous amount of time roaming around the archipelago and there and then the secretary-designate managed to dialogue with his intended targets: farmers and fisher folks who just needed basic government support to take-off.
It didn’t take long before Secretary Piñol has started doling out much-needed farm machinery to farmers and boats to fishermen. For all these assistance to happen when the president is still within his honeymoon period of 100 days, it gives so much hope that indeed his campaign promise is not a remote possibility supported no less by his close affinity to agriculture when he was still a mayor of Davao City. In the next couple of years, the Secretary is hoping that the country will be self-sufficient in food production hence helping food producers increase their stock and at the same time ebbing the flow of much-needed dollars outside of the country to purchase additional bags of rice to feed the 80 million Filipinos.
In his official Facebook page, Secretary Piñol mentioned the weight on his shoulders regarding the fulfillment of the president’s promise to the agriculture sector to ensure the increase of food supply in the next few years. He assures that the planned free irrigation to the farmers will be achieved among the first directives coming from the president. Irrigation is one of the pains of the smallholder farmers and with the government support in taking out the cost in watering their rice beds, the farmers have one perennial thorn uprooted in their necks.
Still, there is so much to be done. In one of his FB posts, the Secretary posted the plan to build more trading centers along with the plan to encourage farmers to harness entrepreneurial spirit. One major challenge left though in the agricultural sector that’s killing the farmers for ages is the middlemen problem. The unscrupulous traders offer loans while preying on the small farmers by offering exorbitant interest rates, hence limiting a marginal profit to farmers. Seldom they can hardly get away from these money lenders who make most of the profits while spending the least effort in food production.
Secretary Piñol (courtesy of Wikipedia)
With the advent of modern technologies where Internet access, computers, and mobile smartphones becoming dirt cheap and more and most poor communities can avail them, a Cebu-based software developer developed a program based on a working platform overseas that attempts so solve the major roadblock in food production and distribution. If the Duterte administration adopts the proposal as shown in the video, it will complement the existing government initiatives in lowering the cost of transport from a farm to a distribution center where end consumers procure their daily food supply. The farmers don’t have to wait to enjoy the completion of much-needed infrastructure just to avail the platform.
The Alternative Commodity Trading System:
The ACTS Platform creates a transparent ecosystem where every stakeholder in food production and distribution can take advantage of the updated information. The days where traders are taking advantage of smallholders farmers can be a thing of the past.