Funds raised, allocated and committed for the agri-fishery sector, since agriculture secretary William Dar assumed office on August 5, 2019, totaled P73.5 billion (B), on top of the 2019 Department of Agriculture's budget of P64.1 B.
The funds were in quick response to the two major issues that Secretary Dar had to face, namely the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) and the African Swine Fever (ASF).
The P10-B fund for this year’s implementation of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program (RCEP) has been allocated to make rice farmers more competitive and to prop up prices of palay.
President Duterte also approved granting P3B as an unconditional cash transfer to benefit 600,000 small rice farmers.
Another P2.5B was allotted for the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance or SURE Aid program, extending a P15,000 zero-interest loan, payable in eight years to farmers tilling one hectare or less of farmlot planted to rice.
Another P7B is currently used by the National Food Authority (NFA) to procure palay directly from farmers.
“Out of this P7-billion budget, NFA has already procured 71 percent of the target, which is equivalent to 10.25 million bags of palay from January to second week of November of this year,” Dar said.
In partnership with provincial government units, governors of the top 33 rice-producing provinces committed an initial P5B to procure palay from their farmers, and dry and mill the grains into rice, and sell it directly to constituents and institutional buyers.
Dar said the amount “is on top of the P3.5B credit line the local governments of Isabela, Nueva Ecija, and Camarines Sur have secured from Land Bank of the Philippines to bankroll palay procurement and related rice industry chain initiatives.”
The DA has initially allotted P375 million (M) for the indemnification of affected backyard raisers whose hogs were culled due to ASF.
The amount is on top of the P10M shared by the private sector --- composed of the National Federation of Hog Farmers, Inc., Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), and Pork Producers' Federation of the Phils, Inc. (ProPork) --- to indemnify ASF-affected hog raisers.
Recently, President Rodrigo Duterte also approved alloting P1B from his contingency fund to bankroll initiatives and establishment of laboratories and facilities to manage, control and contain ASF in Luzon.
The World Bank has also committed $500 M (or P26B) to fund three DA proposed projects, namely: the $200-M provincial agricultural and fishery extension delivery system; $200-M coastal resilience and fisheries development project; and $100-M Mindanao inclusive agriculture development project.
“The proposed projects are on top of the extension of the current World Bank-funded Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) worth $280 million (or P15B),” Dar said. ###
Noel Ocampo Reyes
& A/Sec for Communications
& Media Affairs