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TITLE I

PRODUCTION AND MARKETING SUPPORT
SERVICES

Chapter 1

Strategic Agricultural and Fisheries
Development Zones

SEC. 5. Declaration of Policy. – It is the policy of the State to ensure that all sectors of the economy and all regions of the country shall be given optimum opportunity to develop through the rational and sustainable use of resources peculiar to each area in order to maximize agricultural productivity, promote efficiency and equity and accelerate the modernization of the agriculture and fisheries sectors of the country.

SEC. 6. Network of Areas for Agricultural and Agro-Industrial Development. – The Department shall, within six (6) months after the approval of this Act, and in consultation with the local government units, appropriate government agencies, concerned non-government organizations (NGOs) and organized farmers’ and fisherfolk’s groups, identify the Strategic Agriculture and Fisheries Development Zones (SAFDZ) within the network of protected areas for agricultural and agro-industrial development to ensure that lands are efficiently and sustainably utilized for food and non-food production and agro-industrialization.

The SAFDZ, which shall serve as centers where development in the agriculture and fisheries sectors are catalyzed in an environmentally and socio-culturally sound manner, shall be identified on the basis of the following criteria:

a) Agro-climatic and environmental conditions giving the area a competitive advantage in the cultivation, culture, production and processing of particular crops, animals and aquatic products;

b) Strategic location of the area for the establishment of agriculture or fisheries infrastructure, industrial complexes, production and processing zones;

c) Strategic location of the area for market development and market networking both at the local and international levels; and

d) Dominant presence of agrarian reform communities (ARCs) and/or small owner-cultivators and amortizing owners/agrarian reform beneficiaries and other small farmers and fisherfolk in the area.

The SAFDZ shall have an integrated development plan consisting of production, processing, investment, marketing, human resources and environmental protection components.

SEC. 7. Model Farms. – The Department, in coordination with the local government units (LGUs) and appropriate government agencies, may designate agrarian reform communities (ARCs) and other areas within the SAFDZ suitable for economic scale production which will serve as model farms.

Farmer-landowners whose lands are located within these designated areas shall be given the option to enter into a management agreement with corporate entities with proven competence in farm operations and management, high-end quality production and productivity through the use of up-to-date technology and collateral resources such as skilled manpower, adequate capital and credit, and access to markets, consistent with existing laws.

SEC. 8. Mapping. – The Department, through the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), in coordination with the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) shall undertake the mapping of the network of areas for agricultural and agro-industrial development for all municipalities, cities at an appropriate scale. The BSWM may call on other agencies to provide technical and other logistical support in this undertaking.

SEC. 9. Delineation of Strategic Agriculture and Fisheries Development Zones. – The Department, in consultation with the Department of Agrarian Reform, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Science and Technology, the concerned LGUs, the organized farmers and fisherfolk groups, the private sector and communities shall, without prejudice to the development of identified economic zones and free ports, establish and delineate, based on sound resource accounting, the SAFDZ within on (1) year from the effectivity of this Act.

All irrigated lands, irrigable lands already covered by irrigation projects with firm funding commitments, and lands with existing or having the potential for growing high-value crops so delineated and included within the SAFDZ shall not be converted for a period of five (5) years from the effectivity of this Act: Provided, however, that not more than five percent (5%) of the said lands located within the SAFDZ may be converted upon compliance with existing laws, rules, regulations, executive orders and issuances, and administrative orders relating to land use conversion: Provided, further, That thereafter: 1) a review of the SAFDZ, specifically on the productivity of the areas, improvement of the quality of life of farmers and fisherfolk, and efficiency and effectiveness of the support services shall be conducted by the Department and the Department of Agrarian Reform, in coordination with the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization; 2) conversion may be allowed, if at all, on a case-to-case basis subject to existing laws, rules, regulations, executive orders and issuances, and administrative orders governing land use conversion; and, 3) in case of conversion, the land owner will pay the Department the amount equivalent to the government’s investment cost including inflation.

SEC. 10. Preparation of Land Use and Zoning Ordinance. Within one (1) year from the finalization of the SAFDZ, in every city and municipality, all cities and municipalities shall have prepared their respective land use and zoning ordinance incorporating the SAFDZ, where applicable. Thereafter, all land use plans and zoning ordinances shall be updated every four (4) years or as often as may be deemed necessary upon the recommendation of the Housing and Land use Regulatory Board and must be completed within the first year of the term of office of the mayor. If the cities/municipalities fail to comply with the preparation of zoning and land use plans, the DILG shall impose the penalty as provided for under Republic Act No. 7160.

SEC. 11. Penalty for Agricultural Inactivity and Premature Conversion. – Any person or juridical entity who knowingly or deliberately causes any irrigated agricultural lands seven (7) hectares or larger, whether contiguous or not, within the protected areas for agricultural development, as specified under Section 6 in relation to Section 9 of this Act, to lie idle and unproductive for a period exceeding one (1) year, unless due to force majeure, shall be subject to an idle land tax of Three Thousand Pesos (P3,000.00) per hectare per year. In addition, the violator shall be required to put back such lands to productive agricultural use. Should the continued agricultural inactivity, unless due to force majeure, exceed a period of two (2) years, the land shall be subject to escheat proceedings.

Any person found guilty of premature or illegal conversion shall be penalized with imprisonment of two (2) to six (6) years, or a fine equivalent to one hundred percent (100%) of the government’s investment cost, or both, at the discretion of the court, and an accessory penalty of forfeiture of the land and any improvement thereon.

In addition, the DAR may impose the following penalties, after determining, in an administrative proceedings, that violation of this law has been committed:

a) Cancellation or withdrawal of the authorization for land use conversion; and

b) Blacklisting, or automatic disapproval of pending and subsequent conversion applications that they may file with the DAR.

SEC. 12. Protection of Watershed Areas. – All watersheds that are sources of water for existing and potential irrigable areas and recharge areas of major aquifers identified by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources shall be preserved as such at all times.

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Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization Act © 2004

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