Villar pushes for realignment of DA budget proposal
Rather than heeding to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol’s request for additional budget for next year, Senator Cynthia Villar decided to realign the agency’s priorities “to more important things,” including appropriating more funding to inbred seeds and the livestock and poultry sector.
At the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) agriculture summit, Villar, who heads the Senate committee on agriculture and the subcommittee on finance, said inbred seeds would be given the same priority as hybrid seeds, in contrast to the original proposal of Piñol to allocate more funds to the latter.
Funding for the livestock and poultry sector was also increased to P5 billion from a little over P2 billion, which was agreed upon by Piñol.
“You have to plan well your budget so that allocation would really improve the lives of farmers and fisherfolk,” said Villar.
The senator said the agency had this “belief that hybrid is better than inbred.” To avoid argument, she decided to allocate the same amount of funds to both types of seeds.
“Inbred performs just like the hybrid but its cost is only 15 percent of that of hybrid seeds,” she added. “Cooperative and irrigators need to teach farmers how to produce inbred seeds that will give them yield of six tons per hectare because now we only have four.”
Piñol advocates the use of hybrid seeds and wants one million hectares of farmland planted to hybrid rice at an estimated cost of P15 billion, or P5,000 per hectare.
DA’s revised 2018 budget proposal was set at P57 billion.
Villar is set to defend the revised budget of the DA at the Senate plenary next week.
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