DA wants budget tripled next year
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - May 17, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture is seeking to triple its budget for 2021 to boost the farm industry and ensure enough food in the country.

In a virtual briefing, Agriculture Secretary William Dar maintained that the farm sector remains underfunded and underinvested, hindering it from reaching its full potential.

This year, the government allocated P64.7 billion for DA out of the P1.4 trillion budget of the country. This already includes the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund and the P3 billion financial subsidy to rice farmers.

“If the contribution of agriculture to the economy is 9.6 percent, then next year 9.6 percent of the budget must also go to agri,” Dar said.

Dar also compared the country’s agriculture budget with that of Thailand, also an agriculture country and exporter of various farm commodities.

Some 20 years ago, the Philippines allocated P20 billion while Thailand spent 100 billion baht.

“The President has even mentioned that he would fund the agriculture sector and make it a high priority. I really hope it happens. The stimulus package will be the start of having proper budget and support for the sector,” Dar said.

DA recently asked Congress for a P66-billion stimulus package that would help the country’s agriculture sector recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus disease crisis.

Dar sought a P31 billion budget allocation for the proposed Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Kontra sa COVID-19 program, P20 billion for food logistics and food market interventions and P15 billion for the DA’s Cash for Work Program in Agriculture.

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