In line with the recent crisis on food supply, Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano introduced House Bill 7835 or the Municipal Agriculture Information System (MAIS) bill to solve supply-demand mismatch of local produce in the country.
Just this week, the local farmers from Kalayaan, Laguna had to discard more than 10 tons of tomatoes due to oversupply. It was reported that traders in Manila refused to buy the harvested tomato from the province because the supply was already enough. Meanwhile, rice shortage over the past weeks has been a cause of long queues for NFA rice rations across the country.
“Our food supply must correspond to our needs. We cannot afford to waste food when there are Filipinos who fall in line for too long just to get rations from the government. This is precisely what MAIS tries to address. Open and accessible information regarding agricultural products in the market could aid in ensuring food security for every Filipino,” Alejano pointed out.
The MAIS will contain agricultural information relevant to production such as supply and demand, production forecasts, crops databases, and a search engine to allow farmers to look for buyers and vice versa. Once adopted by Local Government Units (LGUs), MAIS will provide a national database which will aid decision- and policy makers in crafting necessary and appropriate actions to address issues relating to food security. In the long run, this system will expedite farm-to-market transactions.
The Magdalo Representative added, “This is not a band aid solution, but a long term solution that the President and involved cabinet secretaries that need to address especially now with the unabated inflation that is heading to 7% based on the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas forecast.”
“Since the beginning of Duterte’s presidency, despite his claims that he will support the agricultural sector, the Department of Agriculture has never been a priority as shown in the low budget allocation of the agency. It is also unfortunate that the sector remains an economic underperformer despite the Philippines being an agricultural country. Through this proposed solution we will be able to support our local farmers and secure food supply for everyone. MAIS will level the playing field in production. This is a step in guaranteeing there will be no shortages and overproduction in the future,” Alejano concluded.