MANILA Senator Cynthia Villar underscored the need to invest in research and development (R and D) to hasten the growth and development of the agriculture sector.
In a statement issued Monday, Villar, chair of the Senate agriculture and food committee, stressed that agri growth is very important to the country because majority or two-thirds of the population are directly and indirectly involved in agriculture.
She said she believes in the importance of R and D, advocating for its incorporation in the agriculture sector to help improve agricultural mechanization efforts.
The senator was the guest speaker during the turnover ceremony of a decorticating machine, which helps increase the productivity and income of farmer-beneficiaries, especially the 3.5 million coconut farmers.
"lf we address the poverty among the coconut farmers and the rice farmers, I believe it will have a huge impact in improving our country's poverty level since they compose 90 percent of all our farmers," Villar said.
She noted that the Senate has already passed the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund bill to safeguard the PHP100-billion coconut levy funds and guaranteed that the coconut farmers and their families would be the direct beneficiaries of the coco levy funds after resolving this decades-old issue.
Villar said she was a proponent of a similar technology that they have been using in Las PiAas City to provide livelihood and augment the income of farmers.
She said that one of the livelihood programs set up through the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (SIPAG) was a coconet-weaving enterprise that uses a decorticating machine.
Several years ago, Villar said Las PiAas had a grave problem on flooding due to the trash being dumped into the Las PiAas River.
Among the wastes being thrown in the river were coconut husks. The coconet weaving enterprise was set up to help in waste management, aside from giving a source of income to residents.
"We extract fiber and coco peat from the coco husks using the decorticating machine. The fiber is used for making coconet that controls erosion in sloping areas or riprap materials," Villar said.
Coconut dust, on the other hand, is mixed with household wastes to make organic fertilizer that is distributed for free to farmers and urban gardeners.
"This is a good example of how a simple invention could be a source of livelihood for many families and how it helped a city get rid of wastes that clog rivers and waterways causing floods," she added. (Senate PR)
Source: Philippine News Agency