Aklan has a twin development program: Agriculture and Tourism Development. But Tourism has multi-million pesos budget, unlike Agriculture which the Aklan provincial government has allotted a mere P10.8 million this year. The LGUs budget for agriculture is not spelled out.
Moreover, Aklan has accumulated some P38 million savings out of its previous years’ budget, 80 percent or about P30 million should have been spent for agriculture
Poor Management Of Agriculture Development System
This Twin Agriculture Tourism Program should have strengthen the links between agriculture and tourism. But this did not happen and it will not happen should the poor management of Agriculture System will continue.
In a study done by an Australian volunteer with the Department of Agriculture Reform, she found out that: seven (7) percent of the fruits consumed in Boracay were produced in Aklan, five (5) percent of vegetables and 39 percent of the meat were produced in Aklan. What a lamentable statistic as far as Aklanons are concerned.
Last year, 1.3 million tourists went to Aklan, specifically in Boracay. They spent billions of pesos in Aklan, 31 percent of which was spent for food. But how much is the share of Aklanon farmers in the food market?
This Twin Agriculture Tourism Program of Aklan must be reviewed and adjusted with the end in view to allow increase income to Aklanon farmers. If not, then they are the victims and never a beneficiary of the booming Tourist industry. An Aklanon who sells goods or services is beneficiary of the Tourist industry. Aklanon who does not sell anything is victims of the negative effect the tourists bring in Aklan.
Those who have nothing to sell suffer the traffic hazard, noise pollution, increase prices of commodities, among others.
Yet, farmers of Aklan can be the leading beneficiaries if only the Agriculture System is properly managed. There are six factors of production of any products which are manpower, money, time, machineries, materials, and management itself.
The Aklan LGU has agriculture development staff under the leadership of the provincial agriculturist. This manpower resource is a formidable force if they are properly motivated to work by providing adequate facilities. The 17 municipal LGUs have their respective agricultural technologists who can be deployed in the barangays to help farmers in the use of recommended technologies to increase production and income. But they are around to standby in the municipal offices. Can plants and animals be produced in municipal offices?
The money for agriculture has not been fully spent for the benefits of the farmers as evidence by the huge savings in agriculture fund.
The facilities are not made operational such as the multi-million pesos field level grain center in Ibajay, the P3 million bagsakan center in Banga and the rice mill in Guinbaliwan, New Washington.
Due to the location of agriculture offices in the Poblacions of Agriculture Technologists, their time is being spent with nill accomplishment. The materials, like seeds and fertilizer doled out to farmers are not scientifically used and maybe wasted. The solution to poultry and have farms thats smell bad is the application of scientific farming, not closure.
To promote food production and empower farmers to participate in the tourist industry, Aklan’s agriculture system management must be improved in terms of manpower utilization, Agriculture Technicians must be barangay based with their office surroundings as show-windows of scientific agriculture, as plants and animals projects. The present facilities must be made operational, make use of the time and support agriculture projects with ample budget. Organize an effective marketing system for farm products.
Two (2) mango trees which had been growing for last eight (8) decades will be cut off anytime this year. These trees are growing at the DRSTM Hospital ground, corner E Mabini St. and D Maagma St.
The cutting is approved by the Aklan SP upon the request of the Provincial Governor. This will pave a way for the establishment of a fastfood in that hospital ground. It will also contribute in making the town of Kalibo cement jungle. It will also deprive the ordinary people from gaining profit selling native food products in front of the hospital. /MP