THE Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) said the government needs to do more to speed up the land conversion process, while also calling for agriculture to become more efficient as marginal land is converted to nonfarm use.
“We realize land is needed for agriculture but the better approach to food security is to improve productivity with better inputs, farming methods, and support services. The answer is not hectarage but efficiency. In most industrialized nations, less than 5% of its people are in farming, yet they supply abundant food for domestic consumption with surpluses for export,” the FEF said in a statement.
FEF, whose members include leading former technocrats, added, “We urge the government to free up land, particularly marginally productive and unirrigated land for commercial, residential and industrial purposes.”
“Land must be devoted to its best use, one which will provide a higher yield and multiplier effect on the economy. Urbanization requires land for housing. Commercial and industrial pursuits require land as well. To deny land for these purposes will create social and economic distortions, stunt growth and adversely affect the quality of life of our people,” FEF said.
In February, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said that a joint memorandum circular concerning applications for land conversion will be submitted to the Cabinet by March.
The interagency task force involved in the joint memorandum circular are: DAR, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Agriculture, the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, the National Housing Authority, and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio