Marcos administration to inherit 'gasping for breath' agri sector: Dar

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 30 2022 10:07 AM

Farmers gather palay to put into sacks after a day of drying in Brgy. San Juan in Morong Rizal on June 17, 2021 during Rural Workers Month. Rural Workers Month, celebrated every June, aims to recognize the contributions of rural workers who, according to a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority released August 2020, received an average nominal daily pay of P331.10 in 2019.
Farmers gather palay to put into sacks after a day of drying in Brgy. San Juan in Morong Rizal on June 17, 2021 during Rural Workers Month. Rural Workers Month, celebrated every June, aims to recognize the contributions of rural workers who, according to a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority released August 2020, received an average nominal daily pay of P331.10 in 2019.

MANILA - The incoming Marcos administration will inherit an agriculture sector that is "gasping for breath," its chief said Monday.

The agriculture sector has been "underbudgeted, neglected all these 30 years," according to outgoing Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

"It’s gasping for breath and we need sizeable budgetary support to make it possible to really now unlock the potential of the Philippine agriculture," he told ANC's Headstart.

"Of course, I would've been much happier if agriculture would have been properly budgeted."

The agriculture department has proposed a budget of P270 billion for 2023, Dar said.

The fisheries sector needs a budget of P12 billion, triple its current budget of P4 billion, Dar added.

"That's the level of budget we need in agriculture. Otherwise, talagang (really) we have been underbudgeted, neglected all these 30 years. In spite of that, we have new record production in rice production. Everything we've budgeted for we’re using that properly," he said.

"We're having strides in most areas, we can do much more if we’re given the right budgeted support."

President Rodrigo Duerte has approved an action plan to mitigate the impact of the looming global food crisis, Dar said. This includes institutionalizing balanced fertilization strategy, upscaling local technology and raw materials for feeds, and developing areas where higher yields can be obtained, Dar added.

When asked if he's willing to serve under President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Dar said: "If offered, I am there to serve this incoming leadership. If given the chance."