Section 1. Short Title
This shall be known as the “Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997.”
Section 2. Declaration of Policy
The State shall empower the agriculture and fisheries sectors to develop and sustain themselves. The State shall ensure the development of the agriculture and fisheries sectors in accordance with
the following principles:
- a. Poverty Alleviation and Social Equity – The State shall ensure that the poorer sectors of society have equitable access to resources, income opportunities, basic and support services and infrastructure especially in areas where productivity is low as a means of improving their quality of life compared with other sectors of society.
- b. Food Security – The State assure the availability adequacy, accessibility and affordability of food supplies to all times;
- c. Rational Use of Resources – The State shall adopt a rational approach in the allocation of public investment in agriculture and fisheries in order to assure efficiency and effectiveness in the use of scarce resources and thus obtain optimal returns on its investment;
- d. Global Competitiveness – The State shall enhance the competitiveness of the agriculture and fisheries sectors in both domestic and foreign market;
- e. Sustainable Development – The State shall promote development that is complete with the preservation of the ecosystem in areas where agriculture and fisheries are carried. The State should exert care and judicious use of the country’s natural resources in order to attain long-term sustainability;
- f. People Empowerment – The State shall promote people empowerment by enabling all citizens through direct participation or through their duly elected chosen or designated representatives the opportunity to participate in policy formulation and decision-making by establishing the appropriate mechanisms and by giving them access to information; and
- g. Protection from Unfair Competition – The State shall protect small farmers and fisher folk from unfair competition such as monopolistic and oligopolistic practices by promoting a policy environment that provides them priority access to credit and strengthened cooperative-based marketing system.
Section 3. Statement of Objectives – This Act shall have the following objectives:
- a. To modernize the agriculture and fisheries sectors by transforming these sectors from a resource-based to a technology-based industry;
- b. To enhance profits and incomes in the agriculture and fisheries sectors particularly the small farmers and fisherfolk, by ensuring equitable access to assets, resources and services, and promoting higher-value crops, value-added processing, agribusiness activities, and agro-industrialization;
- c. To ensure the accessibility, availability and stable supply of food to all at all times;
- d. To encourage horizontal and vertical integration, consolidation and expansion of agriculture and fisheries activities, groups, functions and other services through the organization of cooperatives, farmers and fisherfolk’s associations, corporations, nucleus estates, and consolidated farms and to enable these entities to benefit from economies of scale, afford them a stronger negotiating position, purse more focused, efficient and appropriate research and development efforts and enable them to hire professional managers;
- e. To promote people empowerment by strengthening people’s organizations, cooperatives and NGOs and by establishing and improving mechanisms and processes for their participation in government decisionmaking and implementation;
- f. To pursue a market-driven approach to enhance the comparative advantage of our agriculture and fisheries sectors in the world market;
- g. To induce the agriculture and fisheries sectors to ascend continuously the value-added ladder by
- subjecting their traditional or new products to further processing in order to minimize the marketing of raw, unfinished or unprocessed products;
- h. To adopt policies that will promote industry dispersal and rural industrialization by providing incentives to local and foreign investors to establish industries that have backward linkages to the country’s agriculture and fisheries resource base;
- i. To provide social and economic adjustment measures that increase productivity and improve market efficiency while ensuring the protection and preservation of the environment and equity for small farmers and fisherfolk; and
- j. To improve the quality of life of all sectors.
Section 14. Food Security, Poverty Alleviation, Social Equity and Income Enhancement
The Department in coordination with other concerned departments or agencies shall formulate medium-and long-term plans addressing food security, poverty alleviation, social equity and income enhancement concerns based on, but not limited to, the following goals and indicators of development:
a. Increased income and profit of small farmers and fisherfolk;
b. Availability of rice and other staple foods at affordable prices;
c. Reduction of rural poverty and income inequality;
d. Reduction of the incidence of malnutrition;
e. Reduction of rural unemployment and underemployment; and
f. Improvement in land tenure of small farmers.