The use of technologies should be intensified to facilitate the modernization of the agriculture and fisheries (AF) sector.

This was one of the key recommendations of Larry Lacson, co-chair of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (PCCI) Agriculture and Fishery committee, during a webinar recently organized by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). The virtual event featured a PIDS study that assessed the implementation of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) or Republic Act 8435, the country’s landmark legislation on the sustainable and equitable development of its agriculture and fisheries sector.

According to Lacson, programs that promote modern technologies should be institutionalized as the sector already has existing technologies.

Marami naman tayong mga ready-to-use technologies na hindi lang natin pinapansin,” he explained.

Lacson added that the Philippines could get ideas from its neighboring countries regarding how they utilize technologies in their AF sector.

“If we can copy some of the neighboring countries’ technologies, why not? Huwag na tayong mahiya. Gawin na natin para mas mabilis tayo,” Lacson said, noting that some of the country’s farming practices have not changed.

Modern technologies can help farmers cope with the country’s modernization efforts in the AF sector.

“We have small lands, so modern technologies, particularly high production technologies, should be implemented,” Lacson pointed out.

Meanwhile, the crop science expert also shared other recommendations from the PCCI committee subsectors, such as crop, livestock, and poultry, to improve the implementation of AFMA.

One, the private sector, should be involved in crafting plans, strategies, and programs related to AFMA.

“While we recognize that there are some consultations regarding the programs being implemented by the government, they do not capture the real situation on the ground,” Lacson said.

Another is clustering crop farms and linking them to established companies for further assistance.

“It is like a ‘big brother’ approach wherein an established business entity is at the top of these farmers and fisherfolk clusters, organizing them and providing inputs and technologies,” Lacson explained.

He added that clustering or the consolidation of farms would help achieve economies of scale in the AF sector.

“For us in the business sector, masyado talagang malilit ang farms to propel modernization,” Lacson pointed out, adding that consolidating farms can result in more sources of production. ###

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