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DA asks for add'l P31B to ensure food security amid COVID-19

The Philippine agriculture department has requested for a P31-billion supplemental budget to finance immediate interventions for food production and availability given the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In a statement, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said the additional amount will be used for the implementation of the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Kontra sa COVID-19 (ALPAS COVID-19) program.

"With this pandemic, there is tightening of global food supply and we know that when there is not enough food, disorder is probable. While improving our food adequacy level, we should aim for food security. If no action is done, the threat of hunger is as real as the threat of the virus," said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

"We need to improve efficiencies in production and enhance projects and activities to ensure affordability and availability of food supply," he elaborated.

Of the requested amount, P10 billion will be used for the upscaling of Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita which includes production monitoring, provincial services on wheels, transportation and trucking services of produce to the metropolis, and the provision for Kadiwa on wheels.

Another P7.5 billion will be for the Rice Resiliency Projecting (RRP).

This includes sub-projects such as the Enhanced Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund for provision of fertilizer to the 947 targeted municipalities growing inbred rice worth P2 billion, and the Expanded Inbred Rice Production to support advance planting during wet and dry season in non-RCEF areas worth P3 billion, and the Expanded Rice Production in Suitable areas to expand rice growing-areas with irrigation worth P3.5 billion.

Accordingly, the DA plans to allocate funds for the following:

  • P7 billion to be added to the procurement fund of the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy palay or unmilled rice from local farmers.
  • P3 billion for the Expanded Sure Aid Recovery project for financial assistance to farmers.
  • P3 billion for the Expanded Agriculture Assistance Project for growing crops and raising livestock.
  • P3 billion for the Social Amelioration Project.
  • P1 billion for the Integrated Livestock and Corn Resiliency Project for higher production of livestock.
  • P1 billion for the Expanded Small Ruminants and Poultry project to ensure an increase in the production of meat, chicken, and eggs.
  • P1 billion for the Coconut-base Diversification Project which involves the intercropping of vegetables and fruits.
  • P1 billion for the Revitalized Gulayan Project.
  • P1 billion for the Urban Aquaponics Project and the Enhanced Aquaculture and Sustainable Capture Fisheries
  • P500 million for the Urban Agriculture Project in major urban communities.
  • P500 million for the Acquisition of Protective Personal Equipment.
  • P300 million for the Corn for Food Project which seeks to intensify the production of corn in areas such as Cebu and Cagayan de Oro.
  • P200 million for the Sustained Information, Education, and Communication Project.

The DA over the weekend already requested for a P1-billion supplemental budget, also to finance programs connected in ensuring food security and stable prices. —Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/LBG, GMA News