DA wants other subsectors to take center stage in budget plan
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is already preparing its budget pitch for next year that would include higher funding for subsectors outside of rice and an establishment of a “buffer fund” to bankroll interventions during emergencies.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar began a five-day internal budget hearing with over 80 DA officials this week to “regroup, rethink and put in place key strategies” that could pull the industry up from last year’s contraction of 1.2 percent.
The rising prices of food items has prompted the agency to refocus its sights on other commodities outside rice.
The additional funding, Dar said, would be used to provide “significant budgetary support for livestock and poultry, fishery and high-value crops.”
The DA would also be asking for a “buffer fund” as provided by the Price Act, meant to be used for the procurement of prime commodities when a shortage arises.
No amount has been given by the agency yet as discussions are still ongoing.
For this year, the DA is aiming to grow the industry by at least 2.5 percent—the ideal rate the Department of Finance said would allow the industry to keep up with the country’s ballooning population and food needs.
A comfortable growth has been elusive especially last year as the pandemic, worsened by typhoons and animal diseases, got the best of the country’s food producers.
Noel Reyes, DA spokesperson, said the agency was hoping to at least surpass its current funding of P90.1 billion. Under the General Appropriations Act, the DA was given P71 billion this year, but later received additional budgetary support to deal with the pandemic.
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.