Incoming Agriculture secretary Emmanuel Piñol vowed to lessen the middlemen’s control in food distribution by empowering farmers.
“This could be done by turning farmers and fishermen into small entrepreneurs themselves, giving them direct access to the market,” he said.
Piñol said rice farmers should be given their own rice processing centers at the farm level.
Rice farmers should also be linked up with big corporations who would buy farmers’ produce for employees, he said.
“It is not even remote that I would one day suggest to President Rodrigo Duterte that each government employee [be given] a monthly one sack rice allowance and the rice would be bought directly from farmers’ groups,” he said.
Piñol said rubber farmers could also form a corporation and get involved with the processing of rubber products and start the manufacturing of bicycle, motorcycle or car and pick tires.
The incoming agriculture chief said that currently, the food supply chain was controlled and manipulated by merchants and traders.
“In the ideal world, farmers are supposed to make money producing food, the traders bring it to the market making a little profit for the effort and the consumers enjoy affordable food. All three of them end up smiling and happy. That is not the case in the real world, however,” Piñol said.
“The Department of Agriculture under President Duterte’s leadership will support the farmers and fisherfolk to ensure that their cost of production is lower and their yield or catch is increased,” he said.