Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

OneDA commits to sustain gains in agri sector

Author: DA Press Office | 26 November 2021

“We want the performance of the agriculture sector to grow. That is always the bottom line,” Secretary William Dar said during the closing program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Management Committee (ManCom) Meeting held on November 23-25, 2021.

Secretary Dar gave the marching orders for the OneDA Family to perform even better, sustain the successes in the agriculture and fisheries sector until the next administration, and “leave a lasting gift for the welfare of our farmers and fisherfolk.”

“We came here to really strengthen the house, to really strengthen our plans, programs, and projects, finishing this year 2021 strong and ready again to go for a marathon. Even in a short distance of seven months, let’s do it in a marathon way,” the agri chief said.

He added that even with the twin pandemics of the Covid-19 and African Swine Fever (ASF), the agriculture sector has really shown its best.

“All things considered, in the crops subsector, to which most of the sectoral gains of the past three quarters have been yoked, performance has been remarkable,” Secretary Dar said noting that the Rice Tariffication Law’s legacy is incontestable in palay production.

For the third quarter of 2021, DA is looking at another record yield of 3.8 million metric tons (MMT). From January to September 2019, palay production grew 10 percent (%), with both irrigated and rainfed palay increasing 7.38% and 25.59%, respectively. The Department is also working towards improving the margins of rice farmers, as their incomes reportedly dropped from P 22,242 per hectare in 2019 to P 21,430 per hectare last year.

Kung wala lang itong problema sa ASF, ang ganda sana ng paglago ng sektor ng agrikultura,” the agri chief said.

He directed the Livestock Group to intensify the hog repopulation, speed up the vaccination trials, and strengthen partnerships with the local government units for the Bantay ASF sa Barangay (BABay ASF) Program.

“You must engage with the LGUs and get their commitments,” he said.

He added that the infusion of pork supply into the markets must also be prioritized.

For the management of food inflation, Secretary Dar instructed the Visayas and Mindanao clusters to direct efforts towards supplying Luzon markets, while the NCR Directorate and Consumer Affairs should be more active in mobilizing pork supply to the market especially during the Christmas season.

“Think out of the box. Figure out ways to realign funds for the mobilization of reefer vans and provision of transportation support for cooperatives,” he said.

In terms of the increasing prices of fertilizers, the DA is promoting a balanced fertilization strategy. It will also continue to explore other solutions like providing subsidies and compost shredder machines, sourcing from new players, using nanofertilizers and biofertilizers, and reviving the Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Corporation (PhilPhos), among others.

Secretary Dar also emphasized the need for a bureau on agri-cooperatives development, nationwide implementation of the Province-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Systems (PAFES), and more investments in precision and digital agriculture as part of the policies on structural reform.

Moreover, the agri chief wants 100% budget utilization and the completion of big-ticket infrastructure projects such as the Cold Examination Facility for Agriculture (CEFA), Agri-industrial Business Corridors (ABCs), Fisheries Biotechnology Center, and the Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases or (CenTrAD).

He also called for the continuous support of the commercial urban and peri-urban agriculture projects, which form part of the Plant, Plant, Plant Program established to ensure sufficient food production during the pandemic.

According to the Secretary, Food Security Development must serve as the main framework of the Department, operating in synch with the OneDA Reform Agenda.

For the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance, the Secretary stressed that the P7.6 billion should be distributed to the farmers before the end of 2021.

Dar also reiterated that there should be no corruption in the OneDA Family and that the delivery of services must be fast, efficient, and transparent.

“We will monitor the seriousness of every operating unit in implementing all the action plans that we have discussed during this meeting,” he said.

He added that the OneDA Family must not lower its guard down, because there is still a long way to go. He also ordered the publication and application of a manual of operations to guarantee that the projects for the development of Philippine agriculture will carry on even under a different DA management.

Huwag nating sayangin itong pagkakataon na magsilbi sa inang bayan at magsilbi para sa ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda. Let us work as a team and converge. We can do it and we must do it,” Secretary Dar stressed. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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