Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

OneDA family reminded to “maintain sobriety” amidst received focus and support

Author: DA Press Office | 16 June 2022

With the Department of Agriculture (DA) receiving much attention and support from the public and the incoming administration, Secretary William D. Dar called on the OneDA family to remain “sober” as it takes its next steps forward.

The reminder was relayed by Undersecretary for Research, Innovation, Training and Extension Support and Chief-of-Staff Leocadio Sebastian during the opening ceremony of the DA National Management Committee meeting, which was attended by the OneDA family.

At present, the Department has been under public scrutiny following the call of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. for the lowering of rice prices to P20 per kilo in a bid to attain food security in the Philippines, which was deemed possible by Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Bernie Cruz, who formulated a proposal to achieve the lowered price by 2023.

Secretary Dar, in his message read by Usec. Sebastian, encouraged the OneDA family to use scientific basis in determining the feasibility of the proposal, in consideration to the DA’s science-based mandate. In a media interview, the Secretary declared that the proposed price can only be achieved by lowering production costs and increasing the buffer stocking of the National Food Authority (NFA) to counter the skyrocketing prices of farm inputs brought by the Ukraine crisis.

“The Secretary himself came up with a realistic solution targeted by clear policy decisions and using a system that is already in place: through the NFA’s buffer stocking mandate. Yet he did not depart from the unremarkable language of science and technical data [and said that] it is not possible at this time,” Sebastian explained.

The Chief-of-Staff further expounded, “There’s excitement about agriculture being funded and taking top priority, but we all have to maintain sobriety about our proposed solutions. It is this sobriety that is often lost in the politics of agricultural leadership. We should all be warned not to get drunk on the sector’s newfound empowerment and support.”

Usec. Sebastian also laid down, albeit in passing, some of the proposed executive and legislative agenda for agriculture under the first 100 days of the new administration. These include:

  • Increasing the buffer stocking of the NFA to 30 days;
  • Encouraging local government units to also engage in a 30-day buffer stocking;
  • Rehabilitating the NFA’s rice milling centers;
  • Selling of NFA rice to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P) beneficiaries;
  • Delegating state universities and colleges (SUCs) to distribute vegetable seeds and planting materials;
  • Disseminating information on organic fertilizer and soil testing;
  • Collaborating with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on reasonable agri-fishery regulations implemented by LGUs;
  • Promoting the law creating the Bureau of Agri-fishery Industrialization Cooperatives;
  • Calling for the passage of the Livestock Development Competitiveness Act;
  • Supporting as urgent the Creation of the Department of Fishery and Oceans; and
  • Hastening the shift to renewable sources of energy for agricultural endeavors.

The OneDA family is also set to discuss specific plans of actions in agriculture to propose for the first 100 days of the Marcos, Jr. administration during the two-day meeting. ### (Krystelle Ymari A. Vergara, DA-AFID)

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