The regional technical director of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 7 on Thursday bared the need for the Philippines to be competitive in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration.
Director Joel Elumba told reporters in an interview Thursday afternoon here that while DA has implemented new programs to address the needs of farmers, fishermen and other producers, the ASEAN integration poses a real challenge.
With imported goods coming from Malaysia, Vietnam and other countries in the region, Elumba said the Philippines has to be competitive by improving the quality of goods and services.
While government is doing everything to make the country competitive, he said the DA has been assisting farmers and fishermen through the provision of easy loan repayment and what crops are suitable for planting.
Elumba added reforms in government are being implemented to provide efficient services and eradicate graft and corruption including in their agency.
He said DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol is definitely bent on prioritizing the farmers’ associations and beneficiaries in their agricultural programs, assuring them of faster services as well.
Furthermore, farmers are now reaping the benefits of the department secretary’s order to provide free irrigation, Elumba said.
DA is also continuously giving out fishing gear and pump boats to fishermen as well as modern farm implements to farmers to improve their productivity.
Elumba was in Dumaguete City as guest speaker during the sixth leg of the 11th Bright Leaf Agricultural Journalism Awards. (JFP/PNA)