Government urged to release more funds for water impounding projects
- Marianne V. Go () - April 15, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Former Agriculture Secretary William Dar expressed doubts yesterday about the Department of Agriculture’s ability to achieve its rice self-sufficiency goal by 2013 and its mitigation preparations for the current drought.

At the same time, Dar urged the DA to release more funds for the harvesting/impounding of water, for this year and in preparation for future drought cycles.

In a press forum yesterday at the Sulo Hotel,Dar who is director general of the India-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), questioned the DA’s ability to achieve its development and growth goals in spite of the additional funding it has supposedly been allotted.

“I’m just asking. Is there really money? Has it been released? Is it being used properly? Or is it being used efficiently is another question? I’m just asking and it is up to you to evaluate,” Dar said.

Dar noted that only around P3 billion so far (based on figures from DA itself) has been released this year out of an allotted P15 billion.

He said water is important to keep farmers planting, “without water, they cannot plant.” As such, Dar urged the DA to release more funds for the harvesting/impounding of water.

He pointed out that if the water impounding structures cannot be put in place this year, farmers who would be displaced by the drought this year, could instead be put to productive use to construct such structures in preparation for the rainy season so the extra water can be collected instead of letting flow back to the sea or the lowlands.

According to Dar, the Philippines cannot rely on continued importation of rice considering that only five to seven percent of global rice stocks can be traded or sold.

“What will happen if China and India enters the (rice) market? There will not be enough supply. So, even if we have money (to buy), we might not get anything.” Dar said.

ICRISAT is urging the Philippine government and the DA in particular to develop a strategy to cope with climate change through dryland agriculture that would allow the country to continue to post growth in the agriculture sector.

A “war” strategy , Dar said, should include growing drought tolerant vegetables; mapping out a contingent action plan for seed production and distribution; management of natural resources such as water and empowering stakeholders (farmers) through capacity building.

AGRICULTURE CHINA AND INDIA DAR DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DROUGHT FORMER AGRICULTURE SECRETARY WILLIAM DAR INTERNATIONAL CROPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE SEMI-ARID TROPICS SULO HOTEL WATER
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with