Piñol bares agri plan; to set up helpdesk for farmers
Ariel Paolo Tejada (Associated Press) - June 14, 2016 - 6:31pm

PIDDIG, Ilocos Norte — Incoming Agriculture Secretary Emannuel  "Manny" Piñol bore his plan for the country's food security during his visit on Tuesday as part of his nationwide tour dubbed "Biyaheng Bukid."

Piñol is visiting farmers and fishermen from remote areas of the country, gathering first-hand information about their agricultural situation before assuming office on July 1.

"Mas gusto ko na yung farmers 'yung nagsasabi sa akin kung ano ang kailangan nila and then we will come up with a program then we will fund the program," Piñol said.

Piñol, a former governor and vice governor of North Cotabato, said his main task is to make sure Filipinos have enough food on their tables.

He said food security and sufficiency can be achieved through three ways: Fast and effective technology transfer; easy credit scheme for farmers; and efficient marketing strategy of farm products.

As part of the fast and effective technology transfer, Piñol said he will implement a nationwide School on the Air program, or SOA, to be aired daily. He said the program will serve as a helpdesk for farmers through the use of a text hotline.

Piñol, who was also a radio announcer, said latest technologies and best agricultural practices will be aired through the program.

Following the directive of incoming president Rodrigo Duterte, Piñol said the Department of Agriculture will also implement a  micro-lending program to fund agriculture initiatives of farmers by allocating P1 billion per region.

Piñol also vowed to help farmers market their products by establishing food terminals on strategic locations.

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