Farmers' group to Marcos: Declare a moratorium protecting agricultural lands | Inquirer News

Farmers’ group to Marcos: Declare a moratorium protecting agricultural lands

/ 06:28 PM July 06, 2022
File photo of Rafael Mariano speaking at a media forum on Wednesday where he called on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to implement a two-year ban on land conversion and declare a moratorium to ensure the production and supply of grains.

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas representative Rafael Mariano. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — A farmers’ group on Wednesday urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to implement a two-year ban on land conversion and declare a moratorium to ensure the steady production and supply of grains.

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) representative and former chief of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DA) Rafael Mariano said this in a statement to Marcos, who had the prerogative to lead the Department of Agriculture as its new secretary.

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According to Mariano, the DAR had already identified “shrinking agricultural land as among the challenges faced by the sector.”

“Issuing an EO prohibiting land-use conversion for at least two years will effectively protect more than 4.84 hectares of agricultural lands awarded to farmer-beneficiaries,” said Mariano.

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Amid the rampant food production crisis, it is important to preserve agricultural lands to increase the yield and production of rice and corn, said Mariano.

The proposed two-year ban on land conversion includes these land classifications:

  • All awarded lands under Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, Presidential Decree 27, and
  • Other government agrarian reform laws
  • Agricultural lands with Notices of Coverage issued by the DAR
  • Irrigated and irrigable lands
  • Prime agricultural lands
  • Privately-owned lands with farmer-tenants
  • Agricultural lands being cultivated by farmers, individually or collectively

As of May 2022, Mariano stated that the rice crop production for April to June might increase by 1.4 percent from the same period recorded last year. Meanwhile, it was estimated that production from April to June is at 1.48 MMT for corn.

“Monsoon season is about to start in a couple of months. The steadily rising cost of fertilizer and fuel persists to threaten production targets. The government must have a sound and long-term policy track to ensure our staple grains’ steady production and supply,” Mariano said.

Mariano then said that the KMP supports The Rice Industry Development Act of 2022 (RIDA) also known as House Bill 405, which aims to secure farm gate prices as it improves the livelihood of rice farmers through the attainment of food security based on self-sufficiency and self-reliance.

“The government must first protect our agricultural lands,” Mariano said. Andy Hoo, Inquirer.net trainee

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TAGS: DA, DAR, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Rafael Mariano
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