DA keeps 2% agri growth target for 2020
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is sticking to its target of achieving a 2-percent growth rate this year despite the economic woes brought by the coronavirus pandemic, noting its resilience amid the ongoing crisis.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the agency remained bullish on the sector’s performance, especially with staple crops such as rice and corn, and other major agricultural commodities.
“Our confidence is buoyed by the fact that the agriculture sector managed to grow 1.6 percent during the second quarter of the year when most industries and economic sectors were reeling from the lockdowns and reduced activities,” he said.
“Filipino farmers and fisherfolk took up the challenge of providing every family with accessible, healthy and affordable food during the lockdowns,” the secretary added.
For the remaining semester, the DA said it would focus its resources on accelerating growth in key sub-sectors—crops, livestock, poultry, and fisheries—using the additional funding it received under the Bayanihan 2 law.
The stimulus package committed P24 billion to the agriculture sector, which the agency intends to use to improve research and development initiatives, fund agribusiness grants, and expand crop production, among others.
The agriculture chief is riding on the crest of an emerging consensus that an agriculture-driven economy is the best strategy to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, with the hopes that lawmakers would increase the agency’s budget for next year.
Under the proposed 2021 national budget, the DA’s funding was cut by 17 percent from its current this year. The agency is expected to meet with the House plenary next week wherein it intends to propose a higher budget of P86.3 billion.
For the past two years, the agriculture sector’s growth rate has been nailed at 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent as it remained the most vulnerable sector to calamities and adverse weather patterns. According to the Department of Finance, the industry must at least grow by 2 percent yearly to keep up with the growth of the country’s population. INQ