Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the requested budget aims to expedite the implementation of the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Kontra sa COVID-19 or ALPAS COVID-19 on top of the department’s existing programs.
STAR/ File
DA seeks P32 billion funding to address food supply
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - March 26, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture is seeking P32 billion in funds to immediately roll out its interventions to ensure available food and stable prices amid the enhanced community quarantine.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the requested budget aims to expedite the implementation of the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Kontra sa COVID-19 or ALPAS COVID-19 on top of the department’s existing programs.

The budget proposal for ALPAS COVID-19 is in line with the mandate of the DA to “ensure a food-secure Philippines much more in time of the health emergency period.”

“With this pandemic, there is tightening of global food supply and we know that when there is not enough food, disorder is probable. While improving our food adequacy level, we should aim for food security. If no action is done, the threat of hunger is as real as the threat of the virus,” Dar said.

Of the budget, a total of P8.5 billion will go to the Rice Resiliency Project (RRP) following a clustering approach.

This will include the provision of fertilizer to the 947 targeted municipalities growing inbred rice, support advance planting during wet and dry season in the form of seeds, fertilizer, mechanization, credit and extension, and the expanded rice production in suitable areas.

Another P7 billion will be used to increase the procurement fund of the National Food Authority to buy palay from local farmers.

Financial assistance will be granted to farmers affected by the drop in farmgate prices under the Expanded Sure Aid Recovery Project, while an increase in insurance coverage will be accorded to those growing crops and raising livestock and fisheries under the Expanded Agriculture Assistance Project.

Both projects will get P3 billion each from the proposed supplemental budget.

In addition to the assistance provided by the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, DA will grant social amelioration with the P3 billion recommended budget, to farmers, fishers and farm workers.

Another P1 billion will be used for the upscaling of the Kadiwa store system including production monitoring, provincial services on wheels, transportation and trucking services of produce from source to the metropolis.

The integrated livestock and corn resiliency project will be allotted P1 billion to enable higher production of livestock in corn producing areas.

Another P1 billion will be apportioned to the Expanded Small Ruminants and Poultry Project to ensure an increase in the production of meat, chicken and eggs.

The coconut-base diversification project, which involves the intercropping of vegetables and fruits and raising small ruminants and poultry under coconut trees, will get a P1 billion allocation.

The Revitalized Gulayan Project has been allocated a P1 billion budget for the implementation of the Gulayan sa Paaralan, Gulayan sa Barangay, and Gulayan in public areas and idle private lots.

For fisheries, both the Urban Aquaponics Project and the Enhanced Aquaculture and Sustainable Capture Fisheries in Inland Waters will get P1 billion.

The Urban Agriculture Project to be implemented in major urban communities will get P500 million while another P500 million will be allotted for the acquisition of protective personal equipment such as surgical masks and other accessories to protect DA personnel from COVID-19.

The Corn for Food Project, which seeks to intensify the production of corn in areas such as Cebu and Cagayan de Oro where it is consumed as a food staple, will get P300 million while P200 million will go to the Sustained Information, Education and Communication Project of the DA.

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