Beyond Buzzwords: Transforming Philippine Agriculture!

DA offers list of agri priorities for new admin’s first 100 days

Author: DA Communications Group | 9 June 2022

The Department of Agriculture (DA), led by Secretary William Dar, has prepared a list of priorities in agriculture for the first 100 days of the incoming administration as part of the agency’s transition document.

Secretary Dar presented the list of priorities as he discussed updates on the major DA programs and projects amid the challenges confronting the Philippine agriculture sector during the Secretary of Agriculture’s Group of Experts (SAGE) meeting on June 9, 2022.

Among the priorities are the following proposed executive orders: 

• Increase the National Food Authority (NFA) buffer stock from 7–30 days;

• Local government units (LGUs) to do rice-buffer stocking for 30 days; 

• NFA to rehabilitate “Rice Milling Centers”;

• NFA to sell their rice to the most vulnerable sectors of society;

• State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) to distribute free vegetable seeds and other planting materials;

• Massive information dissemination drive on the proper utilization of organic fertilizer and the conduct of free soil testing; and 

• Strengthen collaboration between DA and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). 

The DA also proposed several legislative measures including the: 1) creation of a DA-Bureau of Agri-fishery Industrialization Cooperatives (BAIC); 2) passage of the Livestock Development Competitive Act, 3) certifying as an urgent bill creating the Department of Fishery and Oceans (DFO), and 4) hastening the shift to renewable energy-based irrigation, mechanization, and agri-fishery production, and value-adding programs, among others.

National Scientist and SAGE Chair Dr. Emil Javier said that there are immediate requirements in a crisis situation, but the solutions must be informed by long term strategic framework. 

He commended Secretary Dar and the DA for having a “well-thought-out” and “a very solid plan for agriculture” in the form of the OneDA Reform Agenda and the National Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization and Industrialization Plan (NAFMIP) that will benefit the incoming administration.

“The new situation calls for a new paradigm and with NAFMIP, we are evolving towards food sovereignty,” Secretary Dar said.

He added that attaining food sovereignty would call for the political will to implement that paradigm, giving topmost priority to agriculture, and a sizable budget for the agriculture sector. 

The agri chief also welcomed the declarations of the incoming president to give topmost priority to agriculture and local food production.

“We have to evolve now. Thus, ensuring food security towards food sovereignty. As much as we could, we have to produce, but of course always be guided that competitiveness is the name of the game para maipababa natin yung cost of production,” the secretary said. 

The SAGE members including former agriculture secretaries Senen Bacani, Leonardo Montemayor, and Domingo Panganiban; former socio-economic planning and NEDA secretary Cielito Habito; and renowned economist Bernardo Villegas agreed that Philippine agriculture needs a much bigger budget.

The advisory group also congratulated Secretary Dar for his accomplishments and thanked him for his service to the country’s farmers and fisherfolk. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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