Modern tech, livelihood assistance to protect farmers amid El Niño

Senatorial candidate Pia S. Cayetano on Tuesday (April 23) expressed support for initiatives that would provide Filipino farmers with better access to modern technology and livelihood assistance.

The congresswoman said this amid the early onset of El Niño, which has negatively affected the livelihood of farmers and agri-workers throughout the county.

“We really need to spend more to improve the technology that is made available to our farmers, especially if we want to spare them from the ill effects of the drought,” Cayetano said in an interview with reporters in Pangasinan.

A total of 487 hectares of farmlands in the province have been affected by the dry spell as of March 29, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 1.

Cayetano, for her part, said modern technology can do so much in protecting the farmers’ primary source of income in times of natural calamities such as this one.

“We cannot control the weather, but we can improve how our farmers could respond to climate change by way of technological advancement,” she stressed.

In Taguig City, for instance, the congresswoman noted that the local government has invested greatly in hydroponics farming system. The process involves growing plants without soil, which makes it ideal for urban agriculture.

Furthermore, the senatorial aspirant has been advocating initiatives that provide sustainable livelihood opportunities for Filipino farmers and those in the informal sector. 

Together with her brother, former Foreign Affairs Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano, they launched the Presyo, Trabaho, Kita (PTK) program in 2013, granting the poor better access to capital to start or sustain their own livelihood. 

It has so far granted low-interest loans to 218 organizations of farmers, fishermen, market vendors, PUV drivers, and small-scale workers nationwide, including 14 organizations in Pangasinan.

PTK is also in line with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s policy to eradicate the practice of the usurious ‘5-6′ money lending scheme. #

Senatoriable Pia S. Cayetano talks at the Urdaneta Bagsakan Public Market in Pangasinan.

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