DA proposes P284.4B budget for 2021
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is seeking a P284.4 billion budget for 2021, a nearly 256 percent increase from this year’s budget, to be able to respond to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
During the hearing of the House committee on agriculture and food, officials from the agriculture department presented their budget proposal for 2021, which is P204.5 billion higher than their P79.9 billion budget in 2020.
“The budget is intended to sustain, reboot and grow the agriculture and fisheries sector amid the challenges brought by the pandemic. We seek your highest approval of our budget proposal for the coming year,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar told lawmakers.
As per the presentation of the DA, its key targets include industrialization, modernization, export promotion, farm consolidation, legislative support, and infrastructure development.
The agriculture department is also eyeing a P55.97 billion budget for the rice sub-sector—of which P24.81 billion will be allocated for the country’s national rice program.
DA likewise has budget proposal for other sectors, such as high value crops (P13.72 billion), livestock sector (P11.23 billion), fisheries sector (P22.53 billion), corn sub-sector (P6.63 billion), organic agriculture (P960.39 million), other support programs such as market development services (P3.03 billion) and Halal food industry development program (P114.56 million).
The agriculture department also has a P130 billion budget proposal for locally funded projects, which includes farm-to-market road constructions, the National Soil Health Program and the Young Farmers Program, among others. Further, DA also proposed a P7.15 billion budget for foreign-assisted projects such as the Philippine Rural Development Project.
Dar underscored the importance of the sector in providing food for Filipinos which was highlighted during the pandemic.
The agriculture secretary added that in terms of economic input, the sector contributes around 10 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“The agricultural sector contributes around ten percent of the country’s GDP. But the share it gets from the national budget for the past 10 years is a measly 3 to 5 percent of the total,” Dar said.
“I wish to underscore the need to ensure parity between the contribution of the sector to the economy and the resources it gets from the national proper,” he added.
In the same hearing, Dar also discussed the response measures implemented by the agriculture department to help farmers affected by the pandemic.
Dar said that the pandemic resulted in bottlenecks in movement that prevented the delivery of food supply from provinces to urban consumers.
“In response, we in the Department introduced Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita where farmers’ produce were brought to the city in partnership with the private sector through rented trucks and issuing food passes for these agri-business delivery trucks to facilitate entry to urban centers,” Dar said.
The Kadiwa moving stores, Dar said, were placed in strategic areas in Metro Manila and other major cities in the country in partnership with local government units.
“We launched the e-Kadiwa app to promote online purchases and partnered with big corporations and local government areas and lately with malls to provide space in their space and malls where farmers can sell their produce. To date, our Kadiwa efforts have generated sales of P5.6 billion to participating farmers,” Dar said.
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