DAR plans to distribute land to 46,000 farmers
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is eyeing the distribution of 48,588 hectares of land to 46,253 farmers this year, with 11,356 hectares already awarded from January to June.
With the Senate’s recent approval of DAR’s P10.27 billion budget next year, the agency also aims to distribute 53,841 hectares of land that will benefit 46,072 farmers in 2018.
In a statement, acting Agrarian Reform Secretary Rosalina Bistoyong explained that the 2018 budget included, among others, a P2.86 billion budget for the DAR’s Land Tenure Security Program, a P935.7 million budget for the Agrarian Justice Delivery Program and P1.87 billion budget for the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development and Sustainability Program.
It was under the DAR’s Land Tenure Security Program that the agency was able to distribute 4.74 million hectares to 2.8 million agrarian reform beneficiaries from 1972 to March 2017.
Key to food security
In a statement in time for the World Foodless Day yesterday, National Anti-Poverty Commission head Liza Maza underscored that “genuine agrarian reform” was the key to food security in the Philippines, as well as to resolving the conflict with communist insurgents.
Maza was responding to President Duterte’s remarks at the opening ceremony of the Agrilink/Foodlink/Aqualink 2017, in which he expressed support for “more land for food crops” especially in Mindanao, but lamented it was being obstructed by “serious security problems” including the communist insurgency.
“The President is correct in saying that vast tracts of land are being used to produce cash crops for export to other countries, at the expense of food crops for our own people’s needs. However, this is so precisely because much of our land remains at the hands of a few landowner-oligarch families, who control its use,” Maza pointed out.
Genuine agrarian reform
“For the country to attain food security, genuine agrarian reform has to be fully implemented in order for the land to be used first and foremost for the food needs of our farmers, and with the appropriate services to increase productivity and support sustainable food production, for the food needs of the whole nation,” she added.
“If the government were to fully implement genuine agrarian reform, it would be a meaningful step towards a just and lasting peace in our country,” Maza said.
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