RICE PLANTING. A teenage girl helps her parents plant rice seedlings at Poblacion II in Peñaranda, Nueva Ecija on June 22, 2022. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said ensuring that farmers have a sustainable livelihood would motivate others to pursue the field of agriculture. (PNA photo by Oliver F. Marquez)

MANILA – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said he has three "dreams" for the country’s agriculture sector -- sustainable livelihood for farmers, food security and affordable food for all.

Marcos, who also heads the Department of Agriculture (DA), bared these goals in his weekly vlog uploaded on Sunday night.

He said ensuring that farmers have a sustainable livelihood would motivate others to pursue the field of agriculture.

“Simple lang naman ang pangarap ko: Kailangan magkaroon ng kumikitang kabuhayan ang ating mga magsasaka ng sa ganon ay maengganyo ang susunod pang mga henerasyon na ipagpatuloy ang industriyang ito (My dream is simple, our farmers must have a profitable livelihood so that the next generations will be encouraged to continue this industry),” he said.

Marcos said he would also want the country to attain food self-sufficiency by prioritizing local production over food importation.

“Pangalawa, magkaroon tayo ng seguridad sa pagkain na 'di umaasa hanggat maaari sa ibang bansa (Second, that we have food security and as much as possible not rely on other countries),” he added.

Finally, he said he wanted food to be affordable for all Filipinos amid rising food prices and impending shortages.

“At pangatlo, ang magkaroon ng murang pagkain para sa lahat. Ang pangarap ko ay wala nang gutom na Pilipino. At tiyak ko na pangarap rin ng bawat isa sa atin 'yan (And third, that food would be affordable to everyone. My dream is that there will be no more hungry Filipinos. And I am sure that is the dream of each of us),” he said.

Marcos said his experience as Ilocos Norte governor for 12 years brought agriculture close to his heart.

“Nakita ko 'yung aming nagawa, nakita ko ang maaring gawin kaya alam ko na kaya nating ayusin itong mga problemang hinaharap ng ating mga magsasaka at ng buong agrikultura na sektor (I have seen what we have done, I have seen what can be done so I know that we can fix these problems faced by our farmers and the entire agricultural sector),” he said.

He said the problems being faced by the agriculture industry do not only affect farmers and fisherfolk, but also every Filipino family.

“Ang ating ekonomiya ay nakasalalay sa mga malulusog at malalakas na manggagawa. Higit pa sa anong gamot at bitamina, ang masustansya at kayang bilhin na pagkain ang siyang hindi dapat mawawala sa hapag kainan ng bawat tahanan (Our economy depends on healthy and strong workers. More than any medicine and vitamins, the nutritious and affordable food is the one that should not be missing from the dining table of every home),” he said.

Marcos assured that the government would strive until these goals are met.

“Patuloy ang ating pagpupursigi na ibangon at ilaban ang industriyang ito hanggang sa makamtan natin ang mga pangarap na ‘yan (We will continue to strive to raise and fight for this industry until we achieve those dreams),” he added.

Last week, Marcos directed the Department of Trade and Industry to provide cheaper fertilizers for farmers.

The government is currently looking for “non-traditional” sources of fertilizer to help ensure that affordable fertilizers are available in the market.

Following the rising prices of sugar, Marcos emphasized the need to prioritize efforts to boost local production of the commodity.

He also stressed the need to cut down food imports to the barest minimum. (PNA)