THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

Secretary Dar remains steadfast in leading the agri sector towards growth despite challenges

Author: DA Communications Group | 6 August 2020

Agriculture Secretary William Dar is confident that the Philippine agriculture and fisheries sector will continue to survive, reboot, and grow amid different challenges including the pandemic.

Secretary Dar delivered the State of Philippine Agriculture Report with optimism on August 5, 2020, a year after he returned at the helm of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and birthed DA’s twin objectives of “Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita.”

“Today, standing in front all of you, I dare say: We can and we will fight the enemy! Together, we shall rise above those fears. No pandemic can bring us down,” he said.

He reported that despite consecutive problems such as decline in palay prices, the presence of African Swine Fever, Taal Volcano eruption, and the pandemic, the DA and agri-fishery stakeholders made sure that there is enough food for every Filipino.

Presently, the country has year-end stock for rice, corn, chicken, and vegetables good for 90 days, 237 days, 182 days, and 20 days, respectively.

In addition, the agriculture sector grew by 0.5 percent in the second quarter despite the pandemic according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

“I stand proud right in front of you knowing that as a department, we did our best! And that best must continue because the work continues. We’re just halfway there,” Secretary Dar said.

He recognized the dedicated men and women of DA and the hardworking farmers, fishers, and agripreneurs, urging them to reboot the way things are done and elevate the game to achieve a food-secure Philippines with prosperous farmers and fisherfolk.

Secretary Dar also thanked President Rodrigo Duterte and many government officials for acknowledging the importance of the agriculture sector and strongly supporting the department’s programs, particularly its “Plant, Plant, Plant” Umbrella Program.

In line with the eight paradigms under the “New Thinking in Philippine Agriculture,” the secretary outlined the major strategies of the department to strengthen and grow the country’s agriculture sector:

  • Continue modernization of the sector by efficiently providing modern and appropriate technologies to enhance productivity and competitiveness of farmers and fisherfolk;
  • Facilitate the clustering and consolidation of smallholder farmers and fisherfolk for more effective production, processing, and marketing activities;
  • Enjoin the private sector to invest in agriculture through industrialization and establishment of agri-aqua industrial business corridors;
  • Apply systematic approaches in the development and promotion of agricultural products for export;
  • Reinforce programs on infrastructure development to establish quality and cost-efficient infrastructure support such as farm-to-market roads, post-harvest facilities, processing and marketing facilities, and improved food markets and food logistics;
  • Promote higher budget and more investments in the agriculture sector following the support and advocacy of the President;
  • Strengthen partnership with the Legislative Branch to promote and institutionalize needed support for the sector; and
  • Continue roadmap development especially for the banner program commodities with the help of the private sector and the agri-fishery stakeholders to set clear plans and strategic implementation of projects.

Secretary Dar underscored that everyone’s support will be crucial for the success of the country’s agriculture sector. Thus, he enjoined the public to come together during this difficult time.

“We can be the solutions to problems of hunger and malnutrition. Together, we shall succeed in stopping out hunger as we pursue the different strategies under the ‘Plant, Plant, Plant’ umbrella program,” Secretary Dar said. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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