DA's proposes additional P12 billion for 2022

DA's proposes additional P12 billion for 2022

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has asked for an additional P12 billion from the earlier proposed P95-billion budget for 2022 to address challenged on food and agriculture.

The intention for budget increase was relayed by DA Secretary William Dar in his letter to Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

He stressed the country’s need for a “lifeline” to sustain its productivity and meet its food security needs for next year.

“We are entering a ‘New World’ – the global scale of the ‘new normal’ as an offshoot of the Covid-19 pandemic – wherein every country in the world is coping with huge challenges,” said Dar.

“These include the lingering and mutating Covid-19 pandemic, increasing prices of petrol, fertilizers and feeds, climate change, population dynamics, urbanization and ageing farmers, and preventing entry of transboundary animal and plant diseases.”

“These global challenges will continue to impact adversely on food production, distribution, and consumption next year and beyond. Hence, in the case of the Philippines and we at the Department of Agriculture, there is a felt need for bigger budgetary support,” he added.

According to Dar, part of the department’s proposed P12-B augmentation is the P8.9 billion for fertilizer subsidy; P2 billion for additional budget for corn program; and P1.1 billion for urban agriculture.

“We believe that there is an urgency for the government to support our farmers in dealing with these global and local challenges,” he said.

“The increase in prices of inorganic fertilizers due to the declining global supply has been alarming. Big countries and producers have stocked up most of the fertilizer supply to ensure their local requirements for crop production and food security.”

“Other threats such as the rising oil prices, increasing prices of raw materials for feeds, and increasing cost of transport due to backlog in logistics transport service are adding to the lingering effect of the pandemic, which is still affecting the global supply chain,” Dar added.

The DA, Dar said, will likewise urge more foreign direct investments, tasking its marketing and international affairs teams to package big ticket investment projects to be headed by DA undersecretary for fisheries and for agri-industrialization Cheryl Marie Natividad Caballero.

Meanwhile, the DA will continue initiatives to mitigate the impact of climate change through its Climate Resilient Agriculture Office, particularly in the establishment of more “AMIA” villages in vulnerable regions. AMIA stands for adaptation and mitigation initiative in agriculture.

To date, the DA has set up 116 AMIA villages nationwide.