Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday encouraged young people to take up agriculture as part of ensuring food supply.
“The average age of farmers in the country is now 57 years old and up,” he said during a virtual press conference for Bicol and Visayas media.
The UniTeam presidential bet said few young people are interested in agriculture as they are even dissuaded by their parents who see farming as an under-appreciated and poorly paid sector.
“We need to attract the young to think about agri-business and for them to adopt with new technology,” he added.
The presidential contender said that he was shocked to know that even “galunggong” (blue mackerel scad) is now being imported when it should be available in the country.
The overfishing and neglect of agriculture resulted in the problem of supply, he added.
The food supply problem and being dependent on importation made it difficult for people to access food, especially during the surge of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) when movement was limited.
Aside from encouraging the youth to go into agriculture, Marcos raised the need for the national government to come up with a strategic plan to ensure enough supply not only of rice but also of fisheries and livestock.
Funding for research and development of new technologies should be provided and scientists should go to the provinces for technology demonstrations to orient farmers on how to go about with their research to beef up production, Marcos added.
There should be higher mechanization by providing tractors and harvesters to palay farmers in particular and “we have to organize large tracks of land for industrial infrastructure,” he said.
Marcos added that because of mechanization the labor costs in Vietnam and Thailand are twice lower than in the country.
Source: Philippines News Agency