Droll way to uplift farmers’ lives
Peter Wallace hit the nail on the head when he described the Department of Agrarian Reform’s plan to shut down a pioneering banana plantation in Mindanao and distribute around 800 hectares of agricultural land to farmers as unmitigated “Idiocy” (Opinion, 3/23/17). That communist-inspired juggernaut aims to dismantle corporate farming and parcel out the estate to manual tillers.
At present, those farmhands are enjoying the full benefits from the company’s lease of their land and as its employees. The DAR, under the current leadership of a communist-leaning chief, now wants to unshackle them from employment and to work their butts off on small parceled lots. Without access to capital-intensive technology, how does that plan ever come close to generating the present income from corporate farming? It’s sheer stupidity.
Just last year, we were treated to the droll spectacle of how agricultural lands, granted to farmers under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, ended up being sold to capitalists who transformed hundreds of hectares of agricultural estate into the so-called “Hacienda Binay.” Those “CARPers” had the better sense to understand how impractical CARP really is than any of the “geniuses” running the DAR.
Cash-strapped individual farming can never compete with well-funded corporate ventures. A simple analogy comes to mind: Single sticks sweep better when bundled together. It’s common sense—a no-brainer. The thing that the DAR should instead watch out for is that the farmers do not get shortchanged when they lease their lands and get hired by companies into agri-farming.
But then again, given the out-and-out incompetence and ineptitude of the Department of Labor and Employment when it comes to monitoring compliance with its issuances for the benefit of laborers, what can anyone expect from the ill-equipped DAR when it comes to monitoring compliance also for the benefit of farmers?
With an agrarian reform department perennially run by bureaucrats who think with their balls, this country is really in big trouble.
DINO CAPISTRANO, [email protected]
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