By Hannah Torregoza
Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon on Sunday urged the government to improve the agricultural infrastructure of the country to prevent rice shortages and to help boost agricultural productivity.
Drilon said that the shortage of rice that struck some parts of the country can be attributed to a poor agricultural infrastructure that hampered the growth of the agricultural sector in the country.
"The government should look closely at the state of agricultural infrastructure in the country to increase agricultural productivity to prevent rice scarcity and prevent unscrupulous traders from taking advantage of the situation," Drilon said in a statement.
Drilon regretted that the Philippines, considered an agricultural country, did not have enough rice on the table, which is an important food for millions of Filipinos.
"Why it happened?" Because our farmers do not get the support they need in terms of infrastructure, resulting in a low harvest per year, we need to offer them an infrastructure that can boost their production, "the senator emphasized.
To address this, the legislator said that the government should include more infrastructure support in its "Build, build, build" program, particularly in the agricultural sector. An example of this much-needed infrastructure is the construction of the P11.2 billion Jalaur River multi-purpose project phase II (JRMP II).
The signing of the contract for the construction of the project, between the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the contractor of the project, Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd., is scheduled for September 3, 2018 at 9:00 am (Monday) the National Irrigation Office in Quezon City.
"The signing of the contract for one of the largest agricultural companies will bring us closer to our goal of improving agricultural production and encouraging agro-industrial activities," Drilon said.
Drilon insisted that JRMP II improve agricultural productivity and prevent shortages of agricultural products, particularly rice, in the future.
According to Drilon, the project will contribute to the country's rice production target of 7.6 percent, as it will increase the annual production of rice to 300,000 tons of 140,000 in Iloilo, as it will provide irrigation to 31,840 hectares throughout the year. industrial estates in the region. province.
It was Drilon who started the project in April 2011 when he met with the Korean government for financing needs. The Korean government has expanded P8.95 billion as official development aid (ODA) through its Export-Import Bank Fund for Economic Development Cooperation. The counterpart of the government is P2, 2 billion.
In comparison with loans offered by China, offered at an interest rate of 3 percent, Drilon pointed out that the interest rate for the Jalaur project is the lowest that the country can get 0.15 percent.