Marcos: Agriculture sector needs to be industrialized

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Marcos: Agriculture sector needs to be industrialized
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on September 27, 2023.
STAR / KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — The agriculture sector needs to be industrialized and businesses should engage with local communities, President Marcos said as he led the inauguration of San Miguel Corp. (SMC)’s P3.34-billion Magnolia poultry farm in Davao del Sur yesterday.

“We can no longer depend on the informal production of food in the way that we have depended on for a very long time,” Marcos said.

“Because the population density, the geopolitical situation right now... just became a great deal worse. All of these factors come together and that is why we have pushed hard to make sure that in the Philippines, we are able to feed our people... Facilities such as this are showing the way how to do it. We must industrialize our agriculture,” he added.

Marcos said he asked SMC president and chief executive officer Ramon Ang to involve local communities in the business.

“It will not succeed if you do not involve the local community. The local community should be able to say that the plant has been established here, that we are feeling its benefits, our lives improved, we secured jobs, we are doing something, we learned something,” he noted.

“The engagement with the local community is absolutely important because there is a tendency sometimes, when we talk about food supply and food security, we forget the farmers, broilers, producers. Their livelihood should improve too,” he added.

The Magnolia poultry farm is situated on a 921.91-hectare property in Hagonoy, Davao del Sur and is considered the country’s largest poultry facility. The mega farm is the first of 12 that SMC will build.

The facility, which started commercial operations in September, would establish 28 world-class climate-controlled farmhouses that will produce 80 million chickens every year.

Around 1,000 jobs are expected to be generated.

As for price concerns, Marcos said consumers would no longer have to worry about the supply of poultry products and the disparity in prices during holidays and peak season if more industrialized agricultural facilities were built nationwide.

He also expressed optimism that the continuous supply of goods, particularly fresh eggs and chicken meat, would prevent excessive price fluctuations.

“The demand will rise but the supply is huge so the supply curve is relatively flat. Perhaps prices won’t change that much,” he said.

As for vaccines against avian influenza, swine flu and avian flu, Marcos said they are going to acquire jabs.

“The vaccine for avian influenza is now available. We will acquire the avian influenza vaccine. There (is no vaccine yet) for swine flu. It is still in its pilot stage,” he said.

Marcos noted that they are addressing the imminent threat of the Panama disease affecting banana plantations by disseminating information on technologies and measures that would control its spread. — Bella Cariaso

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