Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

Aim high, push harder – Dar 

Author: DA Press Office | 4 May 2022

Agriculture Secretary William Dar requested the Department of Agriculture (DA) Management Committee (ManCom) members to aim high, stay alert, and push harder especially at this critical time when the world order is changing and there is a brewing food crisis.

“This is an emergency. Again, double time. Aim much much higher,” Secretary Dar told the DA officials during the second day of the National ManCom Meeting on May 3, 2022 in Davao City.

The agri chief explained that the world is in trouble as it faces a double whammy – the food crisis that is seen to coincide with a “stagflation” or the combination of a recession and high inflation.

“We have to get moving. The smallest inefficiencies, in this time of crisis, will mean people going hungry. This National ManCom then muscles in on the critical moves of the DA in the month. It is important that the transition to the next managers be seamless, at least in terms of our emergency responses to the coming food crisis,” Secretary Dar said.

In addition to inefficiency, he strongly warned against corruption and condemned illegality. He also stressed that sleeping on the job at a time of a food crisis is outright criminal negligence for civil servants in the agri-fishery sector.

Secretary Dar identified that the main weaknesses of the sector are in three things: budget, synergy, and productivity. His main recommendation to the successor of President Duterte is to increase the DA budget to P250–P290 billion, or three times higher than its current budget, to significantly support the country’s food sovereignty goals.

In terms of synergy, the whole-of-nation approach will be applied by the OneDA family as its guiding principle to make coordination seamless.  

To increase productivity, Secretary Dar stressed that the Plant, Plant, Plant Program Part 2 remains to be the DA’s ultimate priority.

“Magbanat tayo ng buto. May krisis sa pagkain. We really have to enhance Plant, Plant, Plant for all banner and present programs. But we do it with clear heads: the formulation of the National Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization and Industrialization Plan (NAFMIP) and the endorsement of the PCAF committees are overwhelming support for us to lay down the strategic foundation of the sector for the next ten years,” he expressed.

He added that the NAFMIP is a lasting legacy that will outlive presidents and agriculture secretaries. 

“The sector should be nourished by vision, ambition, and guts. I see it in many of you. But these should be converted into legacy. Aim high and consistently elevate. There is no turning back,” Secretary Dar told the ManCom members.

He also asked them to focus on the goal of food sovereignty or the determination and capability of the country to provide food for its people.

“Focus on food sovereignty, my OneDA family. Let it move you to action over and beyond. This is our play for the future of our children, which will outlast the effects of elections and I hope, soothe our societal divisions,” he said. ### (Gumamela Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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