As Congress sets to deliberate anew on proposals to extend the comprehensive agrarian reform program, representatives of the militant partylist group Gabriela today said extending the failed CARP will inevitably lead to a rice crisis of larger proportions and to further food insecurity in the coming years.
“A closer look at trends in agricultural production and agrarian reform indicates that CARP allowed corporations and elite families to maintain and even expand land ownership, through the conversion of
agricultural lands dedicated to rice production to industrial and residential use, or the conversion of rice and corn crops to so-called cash crops,” said Rep. Maza.
Rep. Maza said the National Statistics Office revealed farmlands fell from 9.9M hectares to 9.7M hectares from 1991 to 2002. Palay farmlands on the other hand fell 4M hectares in 2005, from 4.13M in 2004.
Rep. Luz Ilagan who hails from Mindanao said CARP’s implementation largely benefitted big corporations in Mindanao like DOLE, Global Fruit, Blooming Petals and Upland Banana Corporation who have transformedfrom a rice producing province into one now sprawling with pineapples, bananas, asparagus and papaya all for export.
“To think that Mindanao used to be able to produce enough rice not just for the island but for the provinces in the Visayas as well. Now we cannot even meet our own demands for rice,” laments Ilagan.
Maza and Ilagan said they are set to oppose proposals to extend CARP when the House of Representatives Committee on Agrarian Reform meets tomorrow.
“We are pushing for HB3059 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill, to allow landless peasants access to land, irrigation and support for farm implements, as well as fair market pricing of their produce. We need to learn our lessons. Extending the failed CARP will spell disaster.” #