RPS Agriculture foundered in choppy waters of reality

POST-DAVOS, President Marcos Jr. is now dealing with the mess and the seemingly unending woes of his flagship program — agriculture. There was no way of escaping from the messy state of agriculture, no luxury to focus on the more hopeful parts of the public sphere (a Filipino American from Texas won the Miss Universe crown to our collective rejoicing, didn’t she? and gross domestic product growth breached the target for 2022). The historic high inflation rate is being driven by surging food prices and constrained supplies. In the agri sector overall, however, very few bright spots remain.카지노사이트

Here is the real downer: The flagship program, his RPS Agriculture, foundered in the choppy waters of reality, and recorded a minor drop in growth for 2022, a sustained three straight years of decline. Farm producers and peasant groups said it might even be an under-counting of the productivity drop, given failure on multiple fronts. Same old, same depressing story.

Mr. Marcos knows some history, and realizes something must be done to arrest the slide. Even the all-powerful monarchs of centuries ago, with their absolute powers, never tuned out of the blighted, suffering parts of their far-flung dominions, especially the starving peasants facing recurring drought, fallow soil and locust infestations.

Apart from lifting agriculture from its prostrate status, Mr. Marcos should also set aside his cherished interactions with the masters of the universe at the exclusive Swiss hamlet. Because even the soaring rhetoric and loftiest intentions of the Davos crowd, the TED talks included, will have no bearing on the tough job of ushering in an agricultural renaissance. For a change, Mr. Marcos should study… Marx, yes, that bearded one, that former starving news correspondent, that eternal anti-thesis to capital that Davos represented. Especially Marx’s take on objective and concrete conditions and that nothing comes out of wish lists and grand hopes. That everything arises from material conditions.

Praxis too. This is the Marxist creed about the imperative fusion of theory and practice for any undertaking to succeed. Agriculture is currently on life support and cannot get out of sick bay unless policy pronouncements, no matter how grand, are backed up with action, funding and concrete support.

The utter disconnect between theory/policy and actual execution/implementation should be bridged.

Over the past six years, agricultural mandarins drowned the media sphere with grand pronouncements and frenzied rollout of phantom programs. Peasant groups and the farm producers’ associations had failed to keep track of the sheer volume of press statements announcing the launch of multiple programs on several fronts: crops, farm mechanization, farmers training, fight against supposedly inspired efforts to rein in the African swine fever (ASF), fight against avian flu, trail-blazing efforts to develop a critical pool of next-generation farmers, efforts to keep down fertilizer prices, corn supply stabilization, sugar production modernization, and all things critical to agricultural modernization and improvement.

One press release that was panned and mocked by hog raisers whose farms had been wiped out by the ASF was the supposed development of a pool of “sentinel piglets” to restart and restock the ASF-hit hog farms. It was hard not to notice the sheer mendacity of the press statement, and the cynicism of the people behind its release. Today, the ASF is still wiping out farms in many parts of the country, with the “sentinel piglets” in that press release nowhere to be found. Even the oft-repeated vow to tightly monitor the ports for disease-spreading food imports, a very basic move, is yet to be implemented.

Among farmers’ groups and farm producers’ associations, the joke was this.

On printed paper, the press releases on grand programs — all unexecuted — for agriculture could stretch from the base to the peak of Ernest Hemingway’s Mount Kilimanjaro.

Of course, the all-talk, all-press release and no-action agricultural governance failed to paper over the serious rot that gnawed at the building blocks of the sector. As the Bard said, all lies end up badly.

Problems on major crops, problems on animal health, problems of the fishery sector, problems on subsidiary crops multiplied because of the neglect or the cavalier response, which Mr. Marcos inherited lock, stock and barrel.

The rotting, dismembered corpus of the sector was passed on for Mr. Marcos to resurrect.바카라사이트

As the agriculture sector was given up for dead (the service sector is ascendant, agriculture is a sunset sector, a certain Duterte-era mandarin named Benjamin Diokno famously lectured sectors asking for more agricultural funding), the default policy position adopted to make up for the shortages of grains, crops, meat, fish and other critical foodstuff was importation. Import to death, import recklessly, greed and profit-driven food imports.

After an obsequious Congress passed the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) in early 2019, around 3.1 million metric tons of rice were imported from April to December that year, record-high orgies of rice importation driven by greed, recklessness and profit. From 2019 to today, we have been either of the two: the world’s second-biggest rice importer or the number one importer.

Yet, there is hardly any difference between rice retail prices before and after the RTL.

Traders and importers have vacuumed up the gains from the mindless importations.

Before he flew to Davos, Mr. Marcos approved the importation of sugar and onions. A panel was created to look into surging egg prices. Advocates for local fishery groups have asked the government to end, once and for all, issuances of certificates of necessity for fish imports.

A Duterte-era executive order was extended to cover lower tariffs for rice, pork and other foodstuff.

Mr. Marcos cannot find a single sub-crop in the agriculture sector that can tell a positive story of growth, strength and rebound.

There is one, of course, and this is the eternal, unbroken, glorious run of abaca-based Manila Hemp. Manila Hemp, and this has been the story for centuries, lords it over in the global market.

You know what the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas did to abaca, that single bright spot of the agriculture sector? It decreed that abaca should no longer be the paper source of our currency.

Replaced with polymer, the synthetic thing.

And the heroes in our abaca-based currency will all be extinguished, probably to extinguish a glorious part of our history. The polymer-based currency will feature, in lieu of our heroes, tarsiers and their next of kin.

Brief explainer: Before we ceded the naming rights to use RP to Poland, all our naval ships and the presidential yacht proudly carried the banner RPS.

RPS Agriculture is an apt name for our flagship program.온라인카지노

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