DA to receive budget hike to help farmers, fishers under Marcos admin

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MANILA – As budget allocation for the Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to increase, the welfare of local farmers and fishers will be prioritized under the new administration.

DA Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said in a post-State of the Nation Address (SONA) forum on Tuesday that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is putting a premium on increasing local yield and dropping food prices.

“What’s exciting and great about the President, being also our secretary of our agriculture, is the importance and priority being given now to the department, and one credible answer to that DA will now be given, is one of the priorities for budget increase allocation,” he said.

This budget increase would result in the provision of loans to farmers, thereby improving the entire value chain and ensuring that produce reaches consumers at an affordable price.

“We will be focusing on boosting our key agricultural commodities, this will be supported by, credit-financial assistance, it’s number one; second is by the provision of appropriate technologies,” de Mesa said.

Marcos said in his first SONA that the government will procure farm inputs in bulk and make them available to farmers at an affordable price.

The DA is set to launch Masagana 150 and 200 by the last quarter.

“By October we will be launching the Masagana 150 and 200. We are aiming to increase the productivity of our rice per in-breed to a level of 7.5 metric tons per hectare, and our hybrid at 10 metric tons per hectare. So that’s why it’s called Masagana 150 to claim 150 bags, and 200 bags for our hybrid,” de Mesa said.

Apart from loans and technologies, the DA is also working on improving a digitized system for help distribution.

“We will continue to digitalize the sector by starting with our registry system. The registry system for the basic sector in agriculture, we have more than 12 million farmers and fisherfolk, by digitizing we will avoid duplication in the interventions, and mostly, we will be avoiding leakages in the interventions,” de Mesa said.

Lowering market prices

The DA’s push for farm-to-market roadmap plans is a result of the lowering market pricing accomplished through enhanced logistics and the elimination of unnecessary layers.

“There are about at least 70,000 kilometers that needed to be concreted all over the country, to bring an efficient distribution system, to reduce the prices of basic commodities all over the country,” de Mesa noted.

He also discussed regional food hubs to effectively transport commodities to the DA’s Kadiwa centers, where reasonable prices are anticipated.

DA Undersecretary Kristine Evangelista earlier said more unnecessary layers in the value chain would mean additional costs shouldered by the consumers.

Agri resilience

The DA acknowledged that the condition of Philippine agriculture was threatened by external uncontrollable forces such as the spread of transboundary diseases, the effects of climate change, the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, and the Ukraine-Russia war.

The DA is set to build cold examination facilities nationwide to avoid aggravating its effects and ensure recovery.

“This will be our first border protection so as to prevent the further entry of these transboundary diseases. We want these to be established in Subic, in the port of Batangas, in Cebu, in Davao, and of course in Manila International container port,” de Mesa said.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.