INVESTING IN AKLAN AGRICULTURE
*A paper presented to the participants to the Aklan Investment Forum held on Friday, July 17, 2015 at Royale Grande Restaurant Kalibo, Aklan jointly sponsored by the Aklan Congressional District lead by Cong. Teodorico T. Haresco, Jr.; Provincial Government of Aklan lead by Gov. Florencio T. Miraflores, and the National Economic and Development Authority lead by Regional Director Ro-Ann A. Bacal of Region VI.
For the first six (6) months of 2015, Aklan got 22 billion pesos from its tourism industry. This money went to persons and business establishments engaging in tourism related businesses such as transportation, hotels, resorts, restaurants, and souvenir items. Part of the money went to the government in the form of taxes and fees.
Who runs the air, land and water transportations? Maybe, some Aklanons own and operate water, and land transportation businesses. Who runs hotels, resorts and restaurants businesses? A small percent is owned and operated by Aklanons, the majority is of foreigners and other businessmen. Even souvenir items are made outside of Aklan.
Employment is one big opportunity for local people of Aklan. However, businessmen bring their respective employees. Aklanons are limited to food services, housekeeping jobs and other minor positions.
Even tourist guides are non Aklanons. Do they know the culture, tradition, and history of Aklan?
The supply of food is one good opportunity to earn good amount of money from tourism. However, food is more often inadequate even for the family, no surplus for sale.
Farmers’ average age is 59 years. They could hardly withstand weather condition and implement recommended production method.
Farmer should be a know all person such as in Mathematics, Biology, Engineering and Animal Science among others. But he is a person who spent the shortest time in school. He can hardly implement recommended agricultural technology in either plant or animal production. He has limited resources and cannot invest in farming.
Hence, farm producers grow poor, farm traders grow rich. The gap is increasing annually.
In 2013, the 1.4 million visitors in Aklan ate the following: vegetables-4 percent of Aklan production, 96 percent was imported; fruits - 7 percent produced in Aklan, 93 percent was imported; fish - 38 percent Aklan catched - 62 percent imported. (Australian volunteer)
1.For those who produce goods and services for sale, they are beneficiaries of tourism; and for those who has nothing to sell, they are victims of tourism.
2.The present condition in Aklan as affected by the tourist industry are: the cost of food and housing is increasing; traffic condition is worsening and pollution is going worse.
Aklan’s actual daily demand for chicken is 6,000 heads. It demands 5,000 kilograms a day of milk fish regardless of the quantity of available deep sea fish. Aklan does not produce chicken egg and milk. There is no commercial flowers project.
I.Planting and production of:1.Fruits: mango, latondan and saba banana, and pakwan.
2.Vegetables: cabbage, pechay, asparagus (Libacao), squash, ginger and beans.
3.Chicken meat and eggs
4.Milk from cattle and goat
5.Production of ethanol from nipa
6.Flowers: roses and orchids.
7. Abaca for handicraft
II.1.Intensify training on agri-business for those to engage in agri-projects.
2. LGUs to assign agricultural technologists in all the barangays at one technologist per two to three (2-3) barangays with their official stations in the barangays;
3. Liberalize the granting of agricultural loans to finance agri-business;
4.DA to put up soils laboratory in Kalibo, Aklan; farmers continuously apply fertilizer to their farms without any soil analysis.
5.Crop insurance to insure priority crops in Aklan.
6. Increase irrigated land area by NIA.
III.1.Aklan LGU to organize a team composed of public/private sector representatives to review, adjust, and improve the present provincial agricultural program responsive to the present and future needs. 2. Organize farmers’ corporation to handle agricultural production inputs and outputs business. 3.Aklan LGU to provide scholarship to sons and daughters of farmers pursuing agricultural courses in college.
IV. To formulate a short term and long term Aklan agricultural development program geard to develop majority of Aklanons to participate and enjoy tourism and agriculture progress in Aklan. /MP