DA to streamline processes to bring down food costs

Jasper Emmanuel Arcalas - The Philippine Star
DA to streamline processes to bring down food costs
Shoppers buy different kinds of food at the Kadiwa Store inside the Bureau of Plant and Industry (BPI) in San Andres, Malate, Manila on June 20, 2024.
STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is streamlining its regulatory processes as part of its efforts to reduce food costs and create a policy environment that would attract investors to the agriculture sector.

Agriculture Undersecretary Asis Perez said the department is on track to implement various changes in its regulations, policies and processes next year aimed at fast-tracking its procedures.

Perez noted that complicated regulatory processes and redundant requirements add to food costs since regulatory fees incurred by industry players are passed on to consumers.

“(We want to) take out the redundancies, the unnecessary requirements,” Perez said in a recent press briefing.

“We want to streamline our government processes (to reduce red tape),” he added.

The DA hopes to complete the review over the next eight months and implement changes to its regulations starting next year, Perez said.

The DA would have a department-wide review after the regulatory agencies are done with their respective internal reviews of their regulations and policies.

“The less you invest in unnecessary regulations, the more efficient you become. So you can utilize those resources for other uses,” Perez said.

One of the initial redundancies that the DA has identified is the need for cold chain players or cold storages to still submit their mayor’s permit and barangay clearance to the department for registration, the DA official said.

“The mere fact that you have a title of cold storage and mayor’s permit, that is enough for us. Why should we ask you to submit the same documents again and again?” Perez said.

Aside from the savings and reduction in food costs, the foreseen improvements in the regulations and policies of the DA would entice more investors to venture into agriculture, Perez added.

“What (investors) are afraid of is uncertainty and the consistent changes. As long as the policies are consistent, open and reasonable [they will invest],” he said.

In May, Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. formed a technical working group (TWG) for the comprehensive review of regulations of the DA.

One of the primary roles of the TWG is to endorse a draft regulations that would repeal and amend “conflicting” and “obsolete” regulatory policies within the department.

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