Thursday, January 12, 2017

Agriculture: Key to Philippine Development

Agriculture remains the key to Philippine economic development. It is recognized that 60% of poor Filipinos live in the rural areas where agriculture is the main industry and any efforts for economic inclusivity must prioritize agriculture.

The current administration giving cognizance to such has made agriculture as the center stage of its economic policy for this term. 

Food production will be given priority so as to keep inflation rates low. This can be achieved through development of infrastructure, availability of credit, and insurance coverage for farm produce according to Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran.  

“The journey has been tough and hard for us, simply because some of our activities actually were constrained by the fact that the budget for the (second) half of the year 2016 was designed by the previous administration,”  said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol .

“We’re not saying these programs laid out in the 2016 national budget are not relevant to the vision of the current leadership but this situation actually somehow tied our hands in really implementing drastic reforms in the agriculture department,” Piñol said.

The DA secretary unveiled the  Rice Productivity Enhancement, intended to help rice farmers affected by the El Niño to recover from its effects by giving them rice seeds and fertilizer. But that would entail an 18 billion pesos additional budget and the economic managers of the administration remain at loggerheads with the DA proposal.

To address weather related setbacks such as disasters, activities such as distributing inputs (seeds and planting material as well as fertilizer); dispersal of animals such as chickens, pigs and goats; endowment of boats and fishing gear as well as tractors, grains dryers and other farm technologies.

“But at the same time, we also started drafting long-term programs which we believe would serve as the foundation of the new agriculture and fisheries [policy] under the Duterte administration and beyond,” the DA secretary disclosed.

The DA also conducted surveys to re-validate all agricultural data and statistics together with a color coded agricultural map that will define production and land use to be utilized in the setting up of objectives and goals for the agricultural sector.

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The Mail Man

Author & Editor - The Philippines' Web Magazine on Agriculture.

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