Senator Win Gatchalian is strongly pushing for the adoption of an agriculture information system (AIS) to deter price manipulation of food prices, such as in the case of onion, which has recently seen record levels.
Gatchalian said that an agriculture information system could prevent any artificial shortages that hoarders may possibly take advantage of for profiteering purposes. His Senate Bill No. 1374 or the Agriculture Information System Act, which he filed last year, seeks to establish an AIS which will serve as an online computer database where information on the demand for specific agricultural and fisheries commodities is gathered and uploaded simultaneously with the production data from farmers in every barangay.
“Lumalabas na hindi natutukan nang maigi ng Department of Agriculture ang suplay at demand ng sibuyas at umaasa lang sila sa datos na nilalabas ng Philippine Statistics Authority. Dapat may regular na stock balance at price monitoring na isinasagawa ang DA sa lahat ng produktong pang-agrikultura na makakatulong sa polisiya at tamang tyempo kung kailan mag-aangkat ng mga ito nang hindi maaapektuhan nang husto ang lokal na produksyon ng ating mga magsasaka at makakatulong sa mga konsyumer sa pamamagitan ng mas mababang presyo ng pagkain,” Gatchalian said, in observation of the result of the recent hearing of the Senate Committee on Agriculture.
“Kung alam nila kung nasaan ang supply, doon na sila kukuha para sa Kadiwa Centers para maiwasang mabulok ang mga produktong pang-agrikultura at para malaman nila kung saan magbibigay ng suporta para mapalakas ang produksyon,” he added.
Once Senate Bill 1374 is in place, the system is expected not only to improve the productivity of farmers but ensure the adequacy of food supply in retail centers.
According to Gatchalian, the creation of AIS would also prevent unwarranted importation of farm products that could unduly impact the competitiveness of local farmers.
As envisioned, the AIS shall merge and synchronize agricultural data from different sources into a cohesive database designed to facilitate linkages from the farm to the intended consumers, including global markets.