DA seeks additional budget of 12 billion pesos

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is seeking an additional 12 billion pesos on top of its recommended budget of 95 billion pesos for 2022 to address food and agricultural challenges amid the pandemic.

“We are entering a ‘New World’, the global scale of the ‘new normal’ as an offshoot of the Covid-19 pandemic, in which every country in the world faces enormous challenges. These include the persistent and changing Covid-19 pandemic, increase in the prices of oil, fertilizers and animal feed, climate change, demographic dynamics, urbanization and aging of farmers, and prevention of the entry of transboundary animal and plant diseases “, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a statement on Thursday.

The larger budget will allow the government to tackle global issues that continue to impact food production, distribution and consumption into the next year and beyond, Dar said.

“Therefore, in the case of the Philippines and us in the agriculture ministry, there is a felt need for more budget support,” he said.

In a letter to Senate Speaker Vicente “Tito” Sotto 3rd and Speaker of the House Lord Allan Velasco, Dar said the country needs a “lifeline” to maintain productivity and meet security goals food.

“We believe there is an urgent need for the government to help our farmers face these global and local challenges,” he said.

Of the 12 billion pesos proposed, 8.9 billion pesos will be allocated to subsidize fertilizers, 2 billion pesos to increase the corn program and 1.1 billion pesos for urban agriculture.

“The increase in the prices of inorganic fertilizers due to the drop in global supply is alarming. Major countries and producers have stored most of the fertilizers to meet their local needs for agricultural production and food security, ”Dar said.

He said threats to the global supply chain, especially rising oil prices, rising raw material prices for animal feed, and the higher cost of transportation due to the backlog logistics transport services add to the lingering effect of the pandemic.

The department “will strongly encourage local government units and the private sector to invest in agricultural and fisheries infrastructure and livelihood projects, especially in supplying the Palay, providing drying, storage and facilities. rice milling, trade and farmer consolidation centers, cold storage and logistics facilities like refrigerated trucks and food delivery, ”Dar assured.

He also encouraged more foreign direct investment, leading DA’s marketing and international business teams to prepare expensive investment projects.

The ministry will continue initiatives to mitigate the impact of climate change through its Office of Climate Resilient Agriculture. To do this, the DA will set up more “AMIA” villages (adaptation and mitigation initiatives in agriculture) in vulnerable regions.

The department has set up 116 AMIA villages across the country.

It also plans to strengthen research and development, farm-to-market roads, post-harvest facilities (including cold chain), small irrigation system (rainwater catchment basin), ‘access to credit for small farmers and ports and markets.

Dar said there is a need to channel more resources to crops where the country has a comparative advantage to boost exports, and to encourage farmers, fishermen and entrepreneurs to be more profitable and sustainable. quality.

The department will also continue to promote the consolidation and grouping of farms in partnership with cooperatives and associations of farmers, local communities and the private sector.

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