Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he plans to present to President Rodrigo Duterte urgent policy changes which could serve as the foundations of an effort to protect agriculture and fisheries.
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DA eyes policy changes
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - January 9, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is looking at implementing policy changes and re-planning of the farm sector to ensure the betterment of the sector amid challenges brought by climate change.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he plans to present to President Duterte urgent policy changes which could serve as the foundations of an effort to protect agriculture and fisheries.

“Unless something is done to re-plan Philippine agriculture so that crops which could not hold water and soil are not allowed to be planted in sloping and mountainous areas and really focus on the planting of trees in the denuded mountains, the next generation will suffer from worse calamities and tragedies,” Piñol said.

“Indiscriminate logging operations and flawed agricultural planning which allowed the planting of corn and tolerated the establishment of commercial pineapple and banana plantations even in graded and upland areas have resulted in the loosening of the soil in recent years resulting in landslides and flash floods,” he added.

Among the recommendations that the agri chief is looking at is the strengthening of the national convergence initiatives between the DA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Department of Interior and Local Governments for the crafting of a comprehensive agricultural plan that could be laid out for each local government unit.

“Critical areas would be identified, especially mountainous areas with flourishing agriculture, and fisheries in the coastal towns, so that they would be assisted first in the crafting of a comprehensive plan that would take into consideration the slopes and gradations in determining what crops should be planted,” Piñol said.

He is also calling for the reimplementation of the tree planting program of former president Ferdinand Marcos initiated by the local government units and requiring residents to plant a certain number of trees.

Furthermore, Piñol would ask President Duterte to request the country’s biggest corporations to adopt a specific deforested mountain in the country where they could establish a tree plantation which they would manage.

This is already the concept of the Integrated Social Forestry program of DENR where private groups could enter logged over areas to plant trees, fruit trees and even coconut trees.

“The problem is that the ISF was used as an excuse to enter a forested area and cut down trees rather than plant seedlings,” Piñol said.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE EMMANUEL PIñOL
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