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DA READY TO ASSIST MARCOS AS NEXT AGRI CHIEF

Following the announcement of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to temporarily lead the Department of Agriculture (DA), Agriculture Secretary William Dar said he and the entire OneDA Family are more than willing to brief and assist him attain food security and food sovereignty amid the impending food crisis. 

“We welcome the decision of President-elect Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to personally oversee and be at the helm of the Department of Agriculture. This is the brand of ‘political will’ that we have been advocating since we assumed office in August 2019,” Dar said. 

The agriculture chief added that the recent pronouncement of President-elect Marcos Jr. is a very strategic decision, giving the agriculture sector an utmost priority, and a thus a bigger budget for DA in the years to come. 

“We see this pronouncement as a victory of the DA in rousing broad public support towards the sector’s rehabilitation and empowerment.”

“We see this pronouncement as a victory of the DA in rousing broad public support towards the sector’s rehabilitation and empowerment,” the agriculture head said. 

“His resolve to take the reins is a strong indication of this. We are confident this will augur an unprecedented ‘whole-of-government’ movement for the urgent attainment of food sovereignty in this time of crisis,” he added. 

Dar also noted that the DA has already prepared a transition report, outlining the short-, medium- and long- terms plans of the Department to significantly increase the productivity of key commodities such as rice and corn, and other fishery products, and augment the incomes of farmers and fisherfolk. 

“The present leadership is ready to brief the President-elect at his most convenient time, and we assure him of our strong support and cooperation, as we truly want him to succeed,” he stressed.

The transition report contains the current state of Philippine agriculture, as well as recommendations and policy proposals.

It is divided into five chapters:

1) Unfinished Business of the Sector

2) Situational Analysis over two decades

3) Policy Recommendations

4) Major Accomplishments of DA, and

5) Agenda Forward

In relation to the looming global food crisis, Dar also shared the list of programs that the next administration should prioritize such as the Balanced Fertilization Strategy, which will upscale the use of bio-fertilizers and stimulants.

“An increase in the budget for fuel and fertilizer subsidy to subsidize other commodity such as vegetables is also crucial.”

He added that an increase in the budget for fuel and fertilizer subsidy to subsidize other commodities such as vegetables is also crucial. 

Some of the other programs he mentioned which are currently being implemented under the Plant, Plant, Plant program Part 2 are: 

  • Provision of fuel and fertilizer subsidies;
  • Local feeds formulation and production; • Urban and Peri-urban farming, including vegetable production, in provinces not frequently visited by typhoons;
  • Aquaculture and mariculture production; and
  • Food mobilization through Kadiwa marketing program. 

He also suggested that the incoming Congress may consider the creation of a Bureau of Agri-Industry and Cooperatives Development, under the supervision of the DA; and institutionalization of the Kadiwa marketing program and a food terminal system.

Dar said the DA is also proposing the transfer of the Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) back to the Department from the Office of the President. 

The above policy recommendations would further strengthen existing and new farmers’ cooperatives and associations or FCAs, and help establish an efficient food value chain and logistics system to stabilize food prices, tame inflation, and more importantly provide farmers and fishers bigger incomes.

He said that Philippine agriculture must be modernized and industrialized to make it globally competitive. 

“We have crafted a 10-year National Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization and Industrialization Plan (NAFMIP), and we fervently hope the President-elect will favorably consider it to attain our joint aspiration of food security and food sovereignty in the next six years,” Dar concluded. 

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