A House leader can’t help but agree with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s dream of transforming the Philippines into a “leading agricultural resource hub”.
Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Ray Villafuerte, president of the National Unity Party (NUP) was referring to Marcos’s declaration during the recent Agrilink/Foodlink/Aqualink trade fairs.
“The President is on point in aiming high to transform the Philippines into one of the world’s agricultural resource hubs. Luckily, he doesn’t have to look far in search of doable programs to help him achieve this impressive plan,” Villafuerte said.
“For one, the President can take his cue from his father, the late President [Ferdinand] Marcos Sr., in replicating—and expanding—the latter’s FTI concept by putting up food terminals all over the country, with focus on the main agricultural produce in the different regions,” he said.
FTI stands for Food Terminal Inc., the original concept of which was meant to boost the local agriculture sector while at the same time offer cheaper produce to Filipinos.
Villafuerte recalled that the late President Marcos established during his presidency the FTI in Taguig City as a subsidiary of the National Food Authority (NFA) and whose main operations included warehousing, food processing, marketing services, and trading of agricultural produce.
“To dramatically boost productivity and raise farmers’ incomes, the current Marcos administration could focus on value-added processing of agricultural products, with state-run food terminals taking the lead in all regions of the country,” the veteran congressman said.
“The President could put up at least one major food terminal in every region, with production, processing, marketing and trading focused on the major farm goods in each region,” noted the Commission on Appointments (CA) majority leader.
He said the proposed FTI in Bicol, for example, “could focus on coconut as this is the major crop in our region. But instead of concentrating on just coconut oil, we in Region V could focus on processing and packaging for sale here and abroad of such value-added goods as organic coconut milk, sparkling coconut water, skimmed coconut milk, dried coconut milk powder, toasted coconut flakes, desiccated or shredded coconut, coconut chips, and coconut fruit spread and cookies”.
Villafuerte earlier backed the President’s decision to take on the position of Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary in a concurrent capacity, saying such a move sent the “crystal clear” message that the Marcos administration was giving top priority to agriculture amid a looming global food crunch.
President Marcos had earlier said that he decided to take on the portfolio of the agriculture secretary “not only to highlight the importance with which this administration puts on the agricultural sector but also to accelerate the development of that value chain”.
“With our energies and resources combined, I am confident that we will not only achieve our goal of feeding the Filipino people, but also achieve our dream of making the Philippines a leading agricultural resource hub in the region and the world,” Marcos said.
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