Where will the extra 2023 DA funds go? | Inquirer Business

Where will the extra 2023 DA funds go?

If the 40-percent budget increase of the Department of Agriculture (DA) for a total P164 billion is not used strategically, the promised industry transformation will still not happen. The heads of six agriculture-related organizations earlier submitted to President Marcos a 69-page report entitled “Toward an Effective Agri-fisheries Multiyear Plan.” The report includes five major issues that are inadequately funded in the current DA budget submission.

Budget follows strategy

If a strategy has no budget, then it cannot be implemented. The DA strategy is largely guided by the National Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization and Industrialization Plan (NAFMIP) 2021-2030. Unfortunately, five NAFMIP game-changing items are not sufficiently supported in the current budget submission.


In the next two months, the Congress and the DA must work together to address these gaps. If the 2023 DA budget is just more of the same, then the NAFMIP-guided strategy will just be a piece of paper.

Market and business information

Sections 38 to 45 of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997 (AFMA) mandated the creation of a National Information Network (NIN). All our neighboring countries already have this. But after 25 years, we have yet to build ours.


Last Aug. 24, the DA announced that the market and business information portion of its budget plan had increased to P10 million, or 1.4 percent of its budget share (compared to Kadiwa’s 40 percent and youth program’s 20 percent). This low amount is almost shocking.

Single commodity approach

The 2023 budget was submitted following the single commodity approach that condemns our farmers to poverty. Today, 74 percent of our arable land is used by rice, corn and coconut farmers primarily following this approach. The NAFMIP commodity systems approach is supposed to include not just production, but the whole value chain.

It emphasizes increasing farmer incomes, by way of their participation in the value chain, including intercropping, processing and producing other products. This is at the heart of NAFMIP, and should thus be supported.


With our average farm size at 1.3 hectares, there is an urgent need for consolidation.

Economies of scale is necessary to compete with low-cost imports and improve our decreasing export performance. Thailand’s enviable success is partly explained by its emphasis on consolidation, i.e. naming its agriculture arm as the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. We have no clear plan or budget for this. And today, our 32-percent rural poverty rate is more than double Thailand’s 15 percent.

Agriculture planning

There is no effective template today for provincial and municipal agriculture planning, nor is there an adequate budget to meet this large gap. Our 17,000 agriculture extension workers have been devolved to the local government units (LGUs). Many of them are doing nonagriculture work because there is no specific plan to guide them.

Budget use

There was a public-private sector DA budget monitoring committee that was abolished three years ago. And because we lacked a check and balance system, the Commission on Audit showed P22 billion in unliquidated expenses in the 2020 DA budget. This amount even compares to the pork barrel scam involving Janet Napoles. What good is an additional budget if it is riddled with corruption? This committee must be restored, with its corresponding necessary monitoring budget.

In the next two months of budget deliberations, Congress and DA must address the above five items identified in the private sector report to President Marcos. Otherwise, the agriculture transformation promise will remain simply a rhetoric.

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