THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

Sulong Pilipinas 2021: DA’s Updates on Agricultural Programs and Innovations (April 26, 2021)

Author: DA Communications Group | 26 April 2021

“Food security is our overarching goal, second to the public health concerns. The food security of our people during this pandemic has been and will always be the paramount goal of the Philippine government.”

This was underscored by Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar during the presentation of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Covid-19 response and status of agricultural innovation in the country during the e-conference of Sulong Pilipinas 2021: Partners for Progress (A Pre-SONA Economic Development and Infrastructure Clusters Forum) on April 26, 2021.

Secretary Dar shared that as the pandemic showed the weakness of Philippine agriculture, it taught the government to confront the many challenges head-on. He said increasing productivity to guarantee adequate food supply remains the primary goal of the department and added that the agency focused on key commodities such as rice, livestock, poultry, corn, vegetables, and coconut industry.

For rice, the DA was able to provide inbred seeds, credit facility, capacity-building, and training program under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF). He said these measures help the rice industry to achieve its 19.4 million metric tons (MMT) in 2020, and 7.2 percent (%) increase in its production in the first quarter of 2021. He said the country aims to hit 93% rice sufficiency in 2021.

For livestock, Secretary Dar presented the whole-of-nation approach of the DA for hog industries which includes the repopulation of pigs to ASF-free provinces and faster distribution of vaccines to hogs. He reported that ASF cases in the country have decreased to 981 in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the more than 4,000 cases in the third quarter of 2020.

The DA chief also shared other measures in line with the food security agenda of the government such as strengthening the Urban Agriculture program and the establishment of landing sites and more infrastructure development.

According to him, the agriculture and fishery hubs that will soon rise and operate will showcase modern technology, processing centers, and know-how facility that will put greater effect to stabilize prices of food.

Sec. Dar also said that pandemic has brought about more opportunities in agriculture including the insertion of modernized technologies in boosting productivity, more investment in agriculture, digital technology, greater coordination with the local government units, and promotion of smart agriculture

The “Sulong Pilipinas” is an annual consultative conference organized by the Economic Development Cluster (EDC) led by the Department of Finance (DOF), which aims to gather feedback and insights from its stakeholders on its socioeconomic priorities.

Since its first conference in 2016, the “Sulong Pilipinas” has been able to conduct 17 workshops to aid the Duterte administration create policies such as the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, the National ID program, the Ease of Doing Business Act, and the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program. (Photo by Alan Jay Jacalan and Adones Buhayan, DA-AFID)