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DA seeks P8-10 billion increase in 2022 budget

Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes said on Sunday that they were seeking a P8-10 billion increase in the agency’s P91-billion 2022 budget.

In a Super Radyo dzBB interview, it was pointed out that countries such as Thailand and Vietnam were more prosperous when it was the Philippines that taught them how to farm.

“‘Yun nga ang nakakalungkot kasi ang laki na kasi ng budget na binibigay nila sa agrikultura. So sa atin, napakaliit. ‘Yun po ang naging presentation ni Secretary William Dar sa Congress ngayon ay sana madagdagan,” Reyes said.

(That’s the sad part because their governments allocate significant budgets for their agriculture sector. In our case, it is very limited. Secretary William Dar presented this to Congress and asked for an increase in our budget.)

The DA’s proposed P231 billion 2022 budget was cut to P91 billion. Reyes said they were asking that the department's budget be increased to 5% of the national budget to finance the agency’s expenses.

“The agriculture sector has been contributing at an average of about 10% to the gross value product of the country, and yet ang budget niya ay nasa (it’s budget is only at) 1.5-1.8% of the national budget. So sana, i-angat man lang hanggang 5% (We hope that they could still increase it to 5%),” he said.

With the pandemic, Reyes also noted that Filipinos have seen the importance of food security with lots delving into urban agriculture and  “plantitos and plantitas”.

“Ngayong pandemic, nakita ng lahat ang kahalagahan ng food security,” he said. “Namulat ang ating mata na talagang kailangan nating mag-invest sa agriculture. Karamihan nga po ng presidentiables ngayon eh at senatoriables ay puro agriculture, sana naman ay ma-translate into additional budget.”

(This pandemic, we have seen the importance of food security. Our eyes were opened that we need to invest in agriculture. Most of the 2022 election candidates focus on agriculture, so we hope that this would translate into an additional budget.)

Vice President Leni Robredo vowed to strengthen the agriculture sector in the country and double its budget within six years if elected as president. Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, on the other hand, said he would impose a moratorium on the conversion of agricultural lands into other uses. — DVM, GMA News