DA trims budget request by 58%
MANILA -The Department of Agriculture (DA) is seeking a budget of P167 billion for 2024—significantly lower than its earlier proposal of P396 billion —to be used mostly for scaling up agricultural output and providing interventions for local producers.
The P167-billion proposed allocation is 6.15 percent higher than the agency’s budget of P158 billion in the previous year.
“While this means is a slight increase for the DA’s budgetary allocation, this is only around 42 percent of the total proposal as submitted to the Department of Budget and Management,” Agriculture Undersecretary Mercedita Sombilla said during the House of Representatives’ budget hearing.
Broken down, P9.8 billion will be earmarked for hybrid seed assistance and another P9.6 billion for fertilizer assistance through discount vouchers through its National Rice Program.
“Public investments related to rice and fisheries production account for bulk of the increases,” Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said.
Panganiban also said this would support various initiatives “that support the sustainable production of high value crops and corn.”
Some P2.2 billion will go to the implementation of the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion program intended to accelerate calibrated repopulation and production expansion through farm clustering and consolidation.
Meanwhile, P2.8 billion will be allotted for agricultural credit program through Agricultural Credit Policy Council to extend funding to farmers and fisherfolk nationwide.
The DA also intends to spend P2.5 billion for the yellow corn production enhancement program for seeds and fertilizers.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) lamented the agency’s proposed budget for the agriculture sector as it shows agricultural production is not a priority of the Marcos administration in the national budget for 2024.
Although it reflects a increase, the group claimed it only accounts for 3.4 percent of the P5.8-trillion national budget requested by President Marcos. “Contrary to the President’s claim, agriculture and food security are not real priorities of this administration,” KMP secretary general Ronnie Manalo said.