Official Publication of the Philippine Information Agency Bicol Regional Office, in cooperation with the RIAC-REDIRAS - RDC Bicol

Friday, September 30, 2016

DA Sec cites agri, fishery agenda for the country

By Julius B. Embile

POLANGUI, ALBAY Sept. 30 (PIA) – To address the recent agricultural decline this year, Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol has bared the administration’s plans in resolving the drop of the agriculture industry.

During the opening National Rice Technology Forum 2016 held in Polangui Albay last September 27, the secretary conveyed in a message relayed by Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) acting executive director Sailila Abdula that the department’s concern on the reduction of the country’s agricultural performance by 4.4 percent between January and March of this year.

Citing the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), secretary Piñol said that this is already the agricultural sector’s fourth consecutive quarterly decline since the second quarter of 2016. He further stated that this has raised the administration’s concern, considering that the agriculture is one of the keys in realizing the Philippines’ economic goals.

“What are we doing to arrest this decline? We, and President Duterte, came up with a simple solution. Agriculture and fisheries must go back to the basics, which are to produce food and address poverty,” the statement cited.

Specifically, according to the secretary, the DA would be focusing its efforts on food sustainability by improved production of staple food commodities, and generate jobs and foreign earnings by developed high value crops production.

This plan, as per the secretary, will be implemented in accordance to the DA’s 10-point agricultural agenda, which includes agricultural and fisheries mapping and food consumption quantification study, a massive institutional restructuring of the DA, intensive technology updating and agricultural credit review for lower interest rates.

The goal of the 10-point agenda is to forge a more forceful, comprehensive, efficient and transparent management and delivery of services to farmers, specially the poor smallholders.

To address food sufficiency, DA looks to initiate a comprehensive technological upgrade for staple food farming, like that of rice and corn.

By the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte to free the farmers of irrigation fees, the department is now thoroughly study of the country’s water management, irrigation and soil analysis. DA, as well, reviewing the adoption of solar irrigation technologies, in order to sustain water systems and preserve watersheds.

The DA also  envisions a more productive land-use policy, due to the declared two-year moratorium on land conversion. He added that agricultural losses is also expected to be minimized through effective soil rehabilitation and fertilizer programs, coupled with modern post-harvest facilities.

To improve on high value crop production, like that of coconut and livestock farming, the DA promises to give focus on the elimination of pestilence that has caused considerable agricultural damage.

Regarding the directive of President Duterte concerning the Coco Levy Fund distribution, Piñol expressed the DA’s full support on the president’s decision as the funding is to be utilized in extending assistance to coconut farmers by giving scholarships to their children, elimination of coconut pests, and replacement of old coconut trees.

The department also aims to promote urban farming in cities, in order to provide sustained vegetable production, through modern green house technology.

DA also plans to cleanse itself internally and ensure that there is no corruption within their ranks, in accordance to the orders of the president. In close cooperation with the Bureau of Customs and other line agencies, the department is also eyes putting an end to illegal trade and smuggling of agricultural products. (MAL/JBE-PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3301475048597/da-sec-cites-agri-fishery-agenda-for-the-country#sthash.vUkk6BpL.dpuf

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