Andaya to prioritize CamSur agriculture
By Mark A. Gomez
Camarines Sur gubernatorial aspirant Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr.’s top priority once elected is to uplift the lives of farmers and fisherfolk by improving the province’s agricultural sector.
During the candidates’ forum for gubernatorial candidates sponsored by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) on March 18, Andaya said the absence of a full-fledged provincial agriculturist in the provincial government is one of the main reasons for the poor performance of the agricultural sector in Camarines Sur.
He said the last time Camarines Sur had a provincial agriculturist was during the term of the late Governor Jose Bulaong.
Andaya, a former congressman of the province’s 1st District, who became a House majority floor leader during his stint in Congress, said the Department of Agriculture (DA) has many good projects and programs but the department will not implement them if the province has no appointed provincial agriculturist.
He said because of this, Camarines Sur is presently at the bottom in terms of agriculture’s socio-economic status among the region’s six provinces.
Andaya said that before, Camarines Sur was No. 1 in Bicol in terms of rice and coconuts production. Around 80 percent of rice and coconut produced in Bicol came from Camarines Sur. Also, 60 percent of fishery production also came from the province he added.
He also said that the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) should distribute to landless farmers in the province the 10,000 hectares of agricultural lands covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) to boost the province’s agriculture.
He pointed out that once the lands have been distributed, they will be productive and they can generate some 1 million bags of rice per year, which could help not only the province but other nearby provinces.
Andaya also said that there are a lot of farm lands in the province experiencing drought especially during summer due to lack of irrigation system, which also contributed to the plight of the farmers.
He added that the P3 million average of cost of irrigation project of the province is too expensive and he can produce a similar irrigation system with a lower budget, costing around P700,000 only.