Farmers harvest their crops near the 6-kilometer danger zone in Daraga, Albay, following the early morning window hours set by authorities on June 19, 2023. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file
Marcos Jr. urged to allow big corporations to lease farmlands
Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News
MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. should allow lands given to farmer beneficiaries be leased by bigger corporations that are into agricultural businesses, a business leader said Thursday.
In a public briefing, Private Sector Lead for Jobs and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said that this would help “upscale” Filipino farmers and have them involved in the value chain.
“Isang recommendation natin kay President Marcos is once this titling and ownership is cleared, the lands should be allowed to be leased by lease farmers to the bigger corporations or puwede silang to group together and form a cooperative and be under a big brother,” Concepcion said.
“They can provide them mentorship, they can provide also the market. And kapag ganiyan iyong mga bangko, siyempre magpapautang na rin sa kanila kasi tama ang business model ng mga maliliit na negosyante na ito, mga farmers," he added.
"So, that is very important – access to mentorship, money and market and even in the agri sector,” he said.
Concepcion is optimistic that they would hear updates from Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III on the “cleaning up” of land titles given to farmer beneficiaries.
“The minimum viability to become a viable entrepreneur in agriculture is 24 hectares ‘no. Now, it cannot be three or four or five hectares, walang scale diyan; pero 24 hectares, you’re already viable,” Concepcion said.
Marcos recently signed into law a measure that would condone agrarian reform beneficiaries’ debt worth around P57.557 billion.
These include amortization of principal payments, interests, and penalties of 610,054 agrarian reform beneficiaries tilling 1.173 million hectares of land.