By JUNE S. BLANCO
REP. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) is set to meet with agriculture bigwigs to push for the mechanics of House Bill No. 8076 promoting corporate farming and providing incentives therefor.
In his explanatory note, Aumentado said the bill aims to strengthen private participation in the agricultural sector to boost production by establishing a national program that will promote corporate farming.
Corporations and partnerships can subsidize the cost of planting materials, particularly the country’s staples of rice and corn.
When the Filipino farmers can have these corporations and partnerships to turn to for their farm inputs, the process can eliminate loan sharks who are only in the business to earn profit but not look after the welfare of this sector.
Under the corporate farming concept, the management’s support to increase production will enable the farmers to produce rice that is competitive with the imported kind.
The process, Aumentado said, will bring down the cost of production and at the same time, wean the farmers from loan sharks and the state of indebtedness.
The concept calls for the corporations to also provide fertilizers and other inputs. The farmers can also run to them to avail of loans without the tedious process of going to the banks in the city for formal loans. This eliminates the attendant expenses for fare and food.
The corporations can offer farmers with “friendly loans” and not the usurious rates of the loan sharks.
Aumentado observed that small and fragmented landholdings, lack of capital, loose financial control and ineffective business management cause low production, hence the corporate farming idea.
He expressed confidence that corporate farming will address problems in production and deal with the entire chain of agricultural-related business – from seed supply to retail sales. All this would be more efficient and effective, the solon noted, if management is done by the participating corporations or partnerships.
As incentive, these partnerships and corporations, Aumentado said, will enjoy exemptions from paying some taxes. Should they avail of loans from banks, these will be treated as compliance with R.A. No.10000 or The Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009.