Long-term agri plan urged
- Ghio Ong, Helen Flores () - October 11, 2009 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Former agriculture secretary William Dar has urged the government to come up with a “long-term” development plan for the agriculture sector amid the continuing threats of climate change to developing countries such as the Philippines.

Dar, currently the director general of the India-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), also urged the government to allocate 10 percent of the annual national budget to the Department of Agriculture.

He said the sector has suffered severe damage wrought by tropical cyclones “Ondoy” and “Pepeng.”

“The government has a short-sighted response (to the crisis). It will do the rice importations to feed the families displaced by Ondoy,” Dar said in a climate change forum in Quezon City.

Dar said extreme weather of this kind is predicted to become more common as climate change accelerates with continued warming.

He said the government must invest in agricultural land in areas which are not being hit by typhoons like Mindanao.

“It will not only address the food crisis but the armed conflict as well because people in war-torn areas will no longer be hungry,” he said.

“Increase the level of investment in agriculture in Mindanao,” he said.

Dar said that the Philippines, which has been tagged as the largest importer of rice in the world, is lagging behind its Asian neighbors in terms of budget allocation for the agriculture sector.

He said the sector receives an average of P30 to 40 billion a year compared to Thailand’s P200 to P300 billion a year.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE INTERNATIONAL CROPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE MINDANAO ONDOY PEPENG QUEZON CITY SEMI-ARID TROPICS WILLIAM DAR
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