Government sees further growth in agriculture, fishery industries

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
Government sees further growth in agriculture, fishery industries
Agriculture Secretary William Dar
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — After a surprising positive performance in the second quarter, the Department of Agriculture is optimistic the farm sector will continue to grow despite the tough challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

The farm industry managed to pull off a 0.5 percent growth in April to June.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said despite the decline in palay prices, the presence of African swine fever, the Taal Volcano eruption, and the COVID-19 pandemic, the DA and its stakeholders made sure there was enough food for Filipinos.

Currently, the country’s yearend stock for rice, corn, chicken, and vegetables is good for 90 days, 237 days, 182 days, and 20 days, respectively.

“We can and we will fight the enemy. Together, we shall rise above those fears. No pandemic can bring us down,” Dar said.

“We did our best and that best must continue because the work continues. We’re just halfway there,” he added.

To sustain and further boost the sector, Dar has outlined his agency’s  major strategies to achieve higher growth.  These include modernization of the sector by efficiently providing modern and appropriate technologies to enhance farmers’ productivity and competitiveness.

The DA will also facilitate the clustering and consolidation of smallholder farmers and fisherfolks for more effective production, processing, and marketing activities, as well as enjoin the private sector to invest in agriculture through industrialization and establishment of agri-aqua industrial business corridors.

Dar said the DA would apply systematic approaches in the development and promotion of agricultural products for export and reinforce programs on infrastructure development to establish quality and cost-efficient infrastructure support such as farm-to-market roads, post-harvest facilities, processing and marketing facilities, and improved food markets and food logistics.

The DA also  aims to promote higher budget and more investments in the sector following the support and advocacy of President Duterte and strengthen its partnership with the legislative branch to promote and institutionalize needed support for the industry.

It will likewise continue its roadmap development especially for the banner program commodities with the help of the private sector and the agri-fishery stakeholders to set clear plans and strategic implementation of projects.

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