Dar advises Bongbong Marcos to ramp up infra program for agri
MANILA, Philippines — Outgoing Agriculture Secretary William Dar on Wednesday advised President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to implement the agriculture sector’s version of the “Build build build” program in order to ramp up irrigation for some 1.1 million hectares of farmlands in the country.
Asked for his advice to his successor, Dar said that the improvement of irrigation in the country is a crucial step in the country’s bid to food self-sufficiency.
“Now, what is our suggestion [to Marcos]? Dapat may ‘Build Build Build’ sa agriculture. In the next six years tapusin na itong 1.1 million hectares,” Dar said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay online media forum.
(What’s my suggestion? There should also be a Build-Build-Build program in agriculture. In the next six years, we should be done with these 1.1 million hectares)
The “Build Build Build” program is a flagship program of the Duterte administration aimed at boosting government infrastructure and stimulate economic development.
Dar lamented that the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) could only irrigate 25,000 hectares annually based on its current capacity.
“It will take 40 to 50 years bago magawan ng paraan yan (before we could solve that),” Dar pointed out.
The NIA, which had been under the Office of the President for almost eight years, is now back as an attached agency of the DA after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 168, series of 2022 on April 25.
This, was after the Commission on Audit, flagged NIA for a “measly increase” in the country’s irrigation coverage.
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