DA seeks P123.7-B budget for 2019
The Department of Agriculture (DA) will submit to Congress a budget proposal of P123.7 billion for next year to fund projects meant to boost the country’s food production capacity.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in a press conference on Tuesday that the budget would be used to finance the agency’s banner programs, with the rice sector ultimately taking the lion’s share of the funds.
The DA got only a P60-billion chunk for its budget this year, more than a third of its request for P213 billion.
The proposal for next year does not yet include the money that will be funneled into its new additional agencies namely the National Food Authority, the Philippine Coconut Authority, and the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority.
Piñol said they were still waiting for President Duterte’s executive order formally transferring the agencies.
With the recent decision of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release funds on a cash basis, agencies are expected to spend their resources faster and more efficiently as opposed to the multi-year budget scheme.
Piñol said this has led some economic managers to think that DA may not be able to absorb the budget it was requesting.
“The budget may be too big considering that it is now going to be cash-based. They [economic managers] think the DA may not have the absorbing capacity to handle that amount of budget, but we will just endorse the budget proposal because it was already approved by the council and it went through the process,” he said.
Aside from the agency’s numerous roadmap programs for dairy, rubber, coffee, and cocoa, it has recently added the development of the halal industry as one of its banner programs.
It is also in the process of shifting toward giving farmers and fisherfolk easy access to loans while slowly abandoning subsidies. Piñol said a larger allocation is expected to be given to the agency’s credit arm.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.