MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is proposing a PHP284.4-billion budget for 2021, a nearly 256-percent increase from its current appropriations, to “sustain, reboot and grow” the country’s agriculture sector.
During the virtual hearing of the House committee on agriculture and food, Agriculture Secretary William Dar stressed the need to allocate more resources to agriculture to unlock its full potentials in the Philippine economic recovery and national development efforts.
He said the agricultural sector contributes around 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) but the share it gets from the national budget for the past 10 years is a measly 3 to 5 percent of the total.
“The budget is intended to sustain, reboot, and grow the agriculture and fisheries sector amid the challenges brought by the pandemic,” Dar said.
“We seek your highest approval of our budget proposal for the coming year. What lies in your hands right now is the food security and resiliency of the country, the future of the 109 million Filipinos, and counting,” he added.
DA’s 2021 budget proposal of PHP284.4 billion is PHP204.5 billion higher than the current year budget of PHP79.9 billion budget.
Of next year’s budget, PHP61.7 billion will be under Tier 1 while the Tier 2 will cover the remaining PHP222.6 billion.
The agency’s proposed budget for next year will include PHP55.9 billion for the rice sub-sector; PHP6.6 billion for the corn sub-sector; PHP13.7 billion for the high-value crop; PHP11.2 billion for livestock sector; PHP22.5 billion for fisheries sector; PHP960 million for organic agriculture and PHP3 billion for other support programs.
Dar assured the public that the supply of agricultural commodities in the country is adequate amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We, in the Department of Agriculture, are working 24/7 to ensure that food is available, affordable, and sufficient on the table of every Filipino household under the situation we are in. We see these difficult situations as golden opportunities to strengthen the underpinnings of Philippine agriculture,” he said. (PNA)