Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano will revoke the approval on the conversion of agricultural lands if they are not developed into the commercial, industrial, or residential area they were meant to be.In a statement, Mariano said that the law allows the Department of Agrarian Reform to go after individuals and companies if the farm land they converted within five years.
Mariano has asked the National Irrigation Administration for a list of irrigated lands that have been converted into non-agricultural lands.
“NIA’s data said some 50,000 hectares were converted. The average rice yield per hectare is three to four metric tons. That would mean we are losing more than 150 metric tons of rice every harvest season which could have been additional production to ensure our food security,” Mariano said.
The DAR has been reviewing the farm lands converted into non-agricultural lands int eh past five years making an inventory.
“By September, I will know the extent of those converted lands in terms of number of conversion orders, areas covered and number of farmers involved. We will then study everything before we make legal actions,” Mariano added.