Achieving Unity in Agriculture Through Agrilink and ACEF
By: Dulce L. Gozon
Party-list Leonila V.Chavez led a party of convenors last October 4,2007 to launch a drive of the Agricultural Competitive Enhancement Fund (ACEF). True to her dream, here is a chance to unify agriculture through ACEF. It can also use Agrilink as a vehicle for unity.
Former Congessman Angelito Sarmiento and Mayor of San Jose Del Monte City also dreams of unity.
Congresswomen Lorna Silverio of Bulacan, Herminia Roman of Bataan, Rachelle Arenas of Pangasinan, Marivic Sy Alvarado of Bulacan, Congressman Arturo Robes of San Jose Del Monte City, all gave their support for unity in agriculture. Pushing for ACEF became their battlecry. Senator Ed Angara, Chairman of the Senate Committee of Agriculture in his letter dated October 3 said: “I strongly urge for the extension of this program to help our agricultural sector become globally competitive”.
ACEF recipients like Lyndon Tan was able to reach a level of production of lettuce which can make Philippine requirement. Now we are starting to export the crop. It was import substation project that resulted in self-sufficiency. We no longer need to import lettuce. Prices are now half of what is used to be.
Jessica Siasu of Mindanao Rubber Corporation is another successful recipient. She wes able to compete in the rubber market. She pays her ACEF loan religiously. She said that if there was no ACEF, she will be not able to sustain rubber production and marketing. She came all the way from Davao to tell legislators and the department about his experience.
Undersecretary Bernie Fondevilla, being the Executive Director of ACEF gave an update on the project. He answered questions posed by Former Senator Leticia Shahani. Can be dairy can be included in the recipients of ACEF? How long will DA process ACEF loans? Under dynamic leadership of Secretary Arthur Yap, the 2-3 years processing is now trimmed down to 1-2 months.
The Soroptimists led by Governor Linabelle Villarica, as well as the other legislators signed the manifesto supporting the extension of ACEF.
I felt happy and hopeful that unity can be achieved in the next six years.
Department of Agriculture “Pinaka” beats them all
For the first time, DA’s booth is truly impressive. The “pinaka” contest with the giant kalabasa or squash showed productivity at its best.
The cooking contest participated in by high school students of Metro Manila and nearby cities showed the dynamism of the youth in agriculture. Using malunggay for sushi organic vegetables, indigenous vegetables sis a manifestion of this.
Secretary Yap came back from India with President GMA. He attended the last day of Agrilink.
It was a fitting climax to a very successful 14th Agrilink, Foodlink and Aqualink.
We thank everyone who came to see the exhibition. A lot of technologies were shown and a lot of sales were closed.
As we go to press, three inspiring developments happened. The Committee on Agriculture of the Senate consolidated all the bills filed by Senators Biazon,Gordon, Villar and Angara. SB No.1648 proposed by the committee and substitution of SB Nos. 38,1538 and 1617.
The committee of agriculture is chaired by Senator Angara, Vice Chair persons are: Senator Biazon, Zubiri and Legarda. Members are: Senators Cayetano, Ponce Enrille, Richard Gordon, Lapid, Honasan, Aquino and Trillanes.
In the lower house, the Committee of Agriculture headed by Abraham Mitra also passed the ACEF extension at the committee level.
All systems go for ACEF extension as both houses of Congress resume session in the first week of November.
The third and very critical development is the remittance of 2005-2006 and 2007 MAV in quota tariffs of 2005- P1, 020, 690, 668, 2006- P2, 086, 163, 979 and 2007- P1, 656, 470, 098 totalling more P4 billion pesos to account 183 beefing up total collections to P10 billion.
When you see these developments, one cannot help but look forward to competitiveness enhancement for agriculture in the coming years.
Marid Agribusiness Digest
Vol.18* December 2007