DA road maps collecting dust

DA road maps collecting dust

If road maps are not done well, or not done at all, the reality desired will never happen. And even if the road maps are good, without the corresponding necessary budgets, the rhetoric will not result in reality.

This is a perennial problem at the Department of Agriculture (DA). 

There were subsector road maps previously, but they did not have a common outline. The biggest hole was the lack of private sector participation. Thus they remained unused, merely sitting on the shelf.

Using samples from these and from the Department of Trade and Industry, Alyansa Agrikultura submitted a common road map outline for the DA’s consideration. While the DA officially approved this, a critical outline component was not implemented.


What was this? A requirement listing key priority actions for the next two years with the appropriate budgets to put the road map into action. In addition, the recommended public-private road map implementation team was not actualized.



There are now 21 DA-approved subsector road maps: nine for high-value crops; seven for poultry, livestock and corn; and five for fisheries. The current budget of the DA did not consider these road maps because they had not been approved when the budget was being formulated.

The current leadership is set to change the situation.

 The need for a working road map has recently been highlighted, specifically in the salt industry. The March 20 Inquirer editorial stated: “It is almost criminal that the Philippines imports some 92 percent of its annual salt requirement, despite having more than 36,000 kilometers of shoreline and access to abundant saltwater.”

READ: Dealing with the syndrome long afflicting the DA

Last March 11, President Marcos signed a law mandating a Philippine Salt Industry Development Roadmap. But rather than just identifying general directions, this law stipulated that necessary budgets must be accommodated.

Half of the salt fund must be earmarked for projects such as machinery and equipment, with 40 percent going to salt farm warehouses and storage areas, and 5 percent each for extension and technology.

This budget component is absent in the DA’s 21 road maps. In identifying urgent priorities and low-lying fruits at least in the short term, this must be highlighted in the 2025 funds.


Point persons

The DA had previously conducted a two-day national agriculture summit that produced excellent recommendations. When asked if the proposed budget would be modified to cover such recommendations, the answer was in the negative. It further showed the disconnect between planning and budgeting.

Last March 19, the DA said there would be two focal persons to help ensure that the blueprints would be tweaked and aligned with the budget. 

A DA assistant secretary will take charge of the road maps, ensuring their completion, improvement and specification of action priorities and corresponding budgets.

Assisting him will be a representative from the private sector. He has been identified by organizations from the agribusiness, farmers and fisherfolk, academe and science sectors. He will help ensure private sector participation and commitment.

The private sector must be responsible for agriculture development, with the guidance and support of the government. This may even result in improved modifications to this year’s budget implementation.

There is plenty of time left before the year’s end.

For crops, the road maps should cover: rice, coconut, banana, coffee, cacao, mango, abaca, onion and vegetables. For poultry, livestock and corn: poultry broiler, poultry raiser, hogs, dairy, carabao, small ruminants and corn. For fisheries: milkfish, tilapia, shrimps, shellfish and seaweeds.

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With a complete plan and corresponding budget, our rhetoric could finally become reality.

TAGS: agriwatch, Department of Agriculture, road maps

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