DA keeps agri growth target at 2%
Agriculture Secretary William Dar is keeping his target of two percent for the whole of 2019, up from last year’s measly 0.56 percent growth.
Geremy Pintolo/File

DA keeps agri growth target at 2%

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - October 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture has maintained its optimism, sticking with its two percent growth target for the year even with the delayed implementation of the supposed benefits of the tariffication law and entry of the African swine fever.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar is keeping his target of two percent for the whole of 2019, up from last year’s measly 0.56 percent growth.

“We will maintain that target. The start of the implementation of the RCEF (Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund) will be a big factor reckoning it from August 2019 to end of the year,” Dar said in a briefing yesterday.

“Everything has already been considered even with the ASF. Of course not all your targets can be met, there are unexpected events but I am still positive [with the growth],” he said.

For the first semester, the farm sector already declined 0.24 percent, a reversal of the 0.63 percent growth recorded in the same period last year.

“Rice will still be the driving factor because the crops sector is still the biggest share [of the total],” Dar said.

Crops account for the bulk of total agricultural production while the livestock sector contributes about 17 percent.

The DA has set higher targets for next year as it banks on the full roll-out of the RCEF, which aims to improve the country’s rice production and competitiveness.

“You have to project higher rather than maintain. Our target for the second year should be between two and three, “ Dar said.

Upon assumption of his post, Dar said he wanted to grow the sector by as much as four percent in the next three years to achieve greater food security.

Over the last 10 years, the sector only grew by a measly average of 1.1 percent, always short of feeding the country’s growing population.

Dar said the P10-billion fund under RCEF has been fully allotted.

“It is the time of the year when such intervention must start and we would like to believe that for the next six years, properly implemented RCEF will make the rice farmer more productive, more competitive and more prosperous,” Dar said.

Of the RCEF, P5 billion is allocated for mechanization. The Philippine Center for Post-harvest Development and Mechanization is targeting 1,200 to 1,600 farmer cooperatives and associations to be given farm equipment. As of today, it had identified 589 FCAs as beneficiaries nationwide.

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