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Roque: More gov’t resources to crop and livestock farmers

Harry Roque

UniTeam senatorial candidate Harry Roque has pressed for a standard whole-government approach to respond to the pressing problems of crop and livestock farmers amid the pandemic.

“The policy of a whole-nation measure that mobilizes inter-agency resources would provide swift aid to farmers victimized by natural calamities like typhoon Odette and hog raisers battered by heavy pork importation, among other problems,” Roque said.

Roque said the government should accelerate efforts to revitalize the swine industry and rice and copra farming sectors in typhoon-ravaged provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao.

He also batted for a stringent policy that would protect the interests of hog raisers from the onslaught of cheap pork meat from heavily-industrialized countries.

Roque stressed that it is not China but other industrialized nations exporting cheap meat that pose the biggest threat to local piggery owners, mostly backyard farmers.

Roque said the swine industry has been dealt with the triple-whammy of African Swine Flu (ASF) epidemic, Covid-19 pandemic, and entry of cheap imported pork.”

“The government should continue infusing sufficient capital to farmers for hog repopulation, as well as introduce measures that would protect their domestic market share,” he said.

“These measures must counter the ability of other countries to produce and flood our markets with cheap pork meat to ensure the survival of our swine industry further,” he added.

Since December, Roque, who has distributed relief goods to typhoon victims in Visayas and Mindanao, said the government should allocate more resources to the pandemic and typhoon-affected rice and copra farmers.

He said it would take some time before farmers in the affected provinces can fully recover from destroyed crops, farmlands, livestock, and properties.

Roque also recommended that copra and rice farmers consider cash crop planting as a source of exportable goods.

“Since our traditional crops are susceptible to calamitous typhoons, the government should encourage farmers to engage in crop diversity such as spices, which has a high market value overseas,” Roque said.

The former presidential spokesman said he empathized with crop and livestock farmers since he owns a small strawberry farm in Benguet and once owned an organic hog farm in Rizal.

“I can somehow understand the plight of our Filipino farmers because I have faced some of their problems myself,” Roque explained. He said several pandemic-induced lockdowns forced him to shut down his hog farm.


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