Senator Cynthia Villar said the budget being proposed for the livestock and poultry sector will not be enough to fund the development of the industry.
Sitting as chairperson of the Finance Subcommittee hearing the P60-billion proposed budget of the Department of Agriculture for 2018, Villar asked Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol to come up with a better budget for the livestock sector.
“For a sector which have contributed 33 percent of the production of the entire agriculture, it is not fair for the livestock program to get only this small amount,” the veteran legislator said.
The seasoned lawmaker, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, also noted that this has been the practice for years, the National Livestock Program getting only a small share in the National Expenditure Program (NEP).
The 2017 General Appropriations Act allocated P1.5 billion for livestock. For NEP 2018, the livestock program got P1.2 billion or a 2.7 percent share. The Fisheries Development Program got P1.4 billion while the National Rice Program got P11.8 billion.
“We need to improve the livestock sector so that we can also improve the dairy industry, which at present, only produces 1 percent of our demand for milk and other dairy products. We should also take into account that 65 percent of our livestock raisers are backyard farmers,” the lady senator pointed out. She also said that a bigger budget for livestock and poultry will enable us to extend assistance to small backyard farmers affected by the bird flu outbreak in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.
The proposed budget of DA of P60 billion consists of P58 billion in new appropriations and P2.7 billion automatic appropriations.