EDITORIAL - Another CARP extension
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - March 17, 2015 - 12:00am

The period for extension has not yet been specified, but it looks like Congress is set to go along with President Aquino’s request for another extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, ostensibly to complete the land distribution scheme started during his late mother’s presidency.

Critics say there are hardly any large agricultural estates left to subdivide and distribute to tenant farmers, and the money for another CARP extension is better used to provide farm support services to agrarian reform beneficiaries. Even Hacienda Luisita, the nation’s largest sugarcane plantation and one of the last holdouts in land distribution, is being parceled out to thousands of tenants.  

Regardless of the fate of CARP, the government must ensure that beneficiaries of the program will receive sustained support. Critics say inadequate farm support services and lack of access to micro credit have forced many CARP beneficiaries to sell their lands, sometimes to their former landlords.

This situation reinforces the argument that large agricultural estates are more efficient and productive. But the problem can be remedied by assisting CARP beneficiaries in pooling their small farms and organizing cooperatives. This has been done in some areas and can be replicated elsewhere.

Regardless of the size, farms need sufficient support to be viable, starting with the procurement of seeds, irrigation and use of fertilizers. At harvest time, farmers need easy access to post-harvest facilities and in selling their crops. This means having farm-to-market roads and facilities to transport their products. Efficient flood control systems are also vital in an archipelago that lies along the typhoon belt.

Farm support services are crucial if the government wants agrarian reform to succeed and boost food production. President Aquino had hoped to make the country an exporter of rice starting last year. Typhoons weren’t the only reasons for the failure to achieve his objective. He should bear in mind those reasons as he pushes for another extension of CARP.

 

 

 

AGRARIAN ANOTHER BENEFICIARIES CARP COMPREHENSIVE AGRARIAN REFORM PROGRAM EVEN HACIENDA LUISITA FARM PRESIDENT AQUINO SUPPORT
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