BALANGA CITY, Bataan -- Goat FIESTA, the country’s first goat festival aimed at creating awareness on the promising income potential of goat production, kicked off in this province on Wednesday.
FIESTA stands for “Farms and Industry Encounters through the Science and Technology Agenda.”
Citing the huge income opportunities that raising goats can offer, particularly to farmers, Governor Albert Garcia, during the opening of the two-day Goat FIESTA held at the Bataan People's Center, said the Provincial Veterinarian Office will start a program on goat-raising for additional food security in the province.
Garcia said goat-raising is economically viable and can help alleviate poverty.
“Goat raising is anti-inflation and anti-poverty. It only needs a small capital but with big returns,” he said.
The governor led the ceremonial goat’s milk toast, together with guests Senator JV Ejercito, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, and other government officials, also at the Bataan People’s Center here.
Marcos and Ejercito batted for the revitalization of agriculture in the country, noting its poor state.
“Ang dapat na sigaw, ‘Make agriculture great again!’ Ibalik ang panahon na ang buong mundo dumarayo sa Pilipinas upang matuto ng pagtatanim ng palay at mais (What should be chanted is, ’Make agriculture great again!’ Bring back the time when the whole world came to the Philippines to learn how to plant rice and corn),” Marcos said.
She said it is time for the country to return to being No. 1 in the field of agriculture, noting that the Philippines is now behind in research.
“We are now in the period of high-tech agriculture that will result in high productivity to end poverty. We are left behind, and it is time to catch up. Hopefully, the Green Revolution and Masagana 99 will be back,” Marcos said.
Green Revolution and Masagana 99 were projects during the time of former president Ferdinand Marcos, her late father.
She said Masagana 99 can be improved.
“Mas mataas ngayon ang antas ng agham sa agrikultura. Maraming hybrid rice ngayon (The level of science in agricultural is now higher. There are a lot of hybrid rice now),” the Ilocos Norte governor said.
Ejercito, meanwhile, recalled that the country was the training ground on rice production for students from other countries, but it is now the opposite.
“Tayo na bumibili ng bigas sa kanila. Kailangan nang ibalik ang sigla sa agrikultura (We are now the ones buying rice from them. There is a need to restore vitality in agriculture),” the senator said.
Ejercito said he filed a resolution in the Senate on anti-rice smuggling that was already approved into a law.
“Ito’y bilang pagbibigay ng proteksiyon sa mga magsasaka (This is to give protection to the farmers),” he said.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) organized the goat festival.
The Bataan People’s Center and the capitol ground in this city became sites of merry-making with students from the Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU) performing native dances.
Various exhibits featuring dairy products, particularly goat's milk, were put up.
Also held was a show where goats donned colorful costumes. Different breeds of goats were likewise presented for public viewing.
Assisting DOST-PCAARRD in organizing the Goat FIESTA were the Central Luzon Agriculture, Aquatic and Resources Research and Development Consortium, Central Luzon State University, BPSU, and the Bataan provincial government. (PNA)
Screencap from GMA News TV