Bill seeks farm consolidation, clustering to make agri sector more productive, competitive
A HOUSE bill that supports farm consolidation and crop clustering has been filed, aiming to make the Philippine agricultural sector more efficient and globally competitive.
“Agriculture is always an issue of scale,” TINGOG Party-list Rep. Jude A. Acidre, one of the authors of House Bill 7077, said in a statement on Thursday.
The measure’s explanatory note says farm consolidation will “open opportunities for people working in the agricultural sector to gain access to modern and developing technologies needed for sustainable agriculture and enable them to have a competitive advantage in the market.”
Under the bill, special agricultural growth zones (SAGZ) will be developed by merging adjacent farmlands within 50 hectares for a synchronized production of a particular crop.
Most Philippine farmers are smallholders, including beneficiaries of the agrarian reform program that limits ownership to three hectares.
Each special zone will focus on staples such as rice, corn, and sugarcane, or high-value crops such as coconut.
The SAGZ and designated crops will be identified based on the area’s climate and environmental conditions; presence of agrarian reform communities and other smallholders; and “strategic location” for domestic and international shipments.
The bill also proposes the creation of a Philippine Agricultural Zone Authority under the Agriculture department.
The measure is pending at the government enterprises and privatization committee. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz