TO FARMERS‘ The group called on President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Wednesday to declare a moratorium of at least two years on the conversion of farmland to protect production areas and ensure a stable food supply.
“To increase the yield and production of rice and corn, the government must first protect our farmland,” the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said in a statement.
Former Agrarian Reform Secretary and KMP member Rafael V. Mariano said the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) had identified “shrinking agricultural land among the challenges facing the sector.”
“Issuance of a decree prohibiting land use conversion for at least two years will effectively protect over 4.84 hectares of agricultural land allocated to beneficiary farmers,” he said.
The proposed ban covers all land allocated under the Comprehensive Land Reform Program, farmland with coverage notices issued by the DAR, irrigated and irrigable land, prime farmland, private land with tenant farmers and agricultural land cultivated by farmers, individually or collectively.
Meanwhile, a party-list lawmaker has tabled a bill limiting farmland ownership to a maximum of five hectares per owner, a proposal a farmers’ alliance has called well-intentioned but impractical.
House Bill 1161 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) introduced by List Party Rep. Gabriela Arlene D. Brosas, seeks to mandate the government to acquire all public and private farmland exceeding five hectares and distribute them free of charge to farmers.
The bill states that its objective is “first and foremost to achieve social justice for our landless farmers through the free distribution of land” and to “reorient our agriculture to put it on fundamentally sound foundations and make it more responsive.” to the needs of our people and the country”.‘s requirements of industrialization.
National director of the Free Farmers Federation, Raul Q. Montemayor, however, said it would be best if the government first settled the “huge backlog” in the existing agrarian reform program before “venture into new programs.”
“Second, food security and sovereignty will not result from simple land redistribution, as we have seen with the current land reform program where beneficiaries have remained poor due to lack of support services,” he said Business world in a Viber message.
“Third, it will result in an implementation nightmare and strong opposition from landowners with more than five hectares, not to mention agribusinesses with large areas,” Mr. Montemayor added.
Ms Brosas said the bill “will finally free domestic agriculture from the shackles of landowners and corporate agriculture,” as she called on members of Congress to consider the measure.
Farmers‘ the leader of the group said that the bill has “good intention but unrealistic and problematic.”
The same bill was introduced in 2007 by the late union leader Crispin B. Beltran, then an Anakpawis representative. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson and Alyssa Nicole O. Tan