CAVITE — Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has shared this key agriculture policy to double the budget of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in six years or by 2028 or earlier, ensuring the food security of all Filipinos.
Pangilinan said this during a dialogue with rice and vegetable farmers in Barangay Sampaloc 2, Dasmariñas City, Cavite on Thursday, Nov. 25.
DA’s 2021 budget is about P85 billion.
The strategy in the next six years, according to Pangilinan, is to increase government assistance to farmers and fishermen, help them manage their own enterprise, and lift them out of poverty.
During the dialogue, the farmers openly discussed their problems, ranging from inadequate technology training, soaring prices of farm inputs, lack of equipment, and access to the market.
Larry Bustos, one of the farmers in the dialogue, said they are very much interested in improving the quality of their produce through organic farming but are in need of government support in the area of technology training.
While he lauded the passage of the Sagip Saka Law authored by Pangilinan, Bustos said the government should ensure that these laws are “properly implemented”.
Responding to questions on irrigation, Pangilinan said he has filed a measure that seeks to harvest rainwater for irrigation and cleaning needs.
Senate Bill 36 seeks to manage, control, regulate, and utilize rainwater runoff for rural irrigation, firefighting, watering of plants, washing of cars or floor yards, flushing of toilet, among others.
Another farmer from Dasmariñas also asked the senator to find ways on how to lower the cost of fertilizer.
“Mahal ang abono, kadalasan umuutang na lang. Ito talaga ang pinakamasakit na problema ng farmer sa mga nagdaang panahon. Huwag na sana aabutin pang muli sa darating na 2022,” the farmer told the senator during the open forum.
Pangilinan acknowledged the need to extend more help to farmers and fishermen who have been providing food on the table of every Filipino family.
He assured the farmers that he will personally call Agriculture Secretary William Dar to follow up on the different incentives and subsidies that the agency can offer such as the “Pantawid Saka at Pantawid Palaot” program for farmers and fisherfolk.
In the 2022 budget of the DA, Pangilinan said a total of P3 billion was allocated to extend direct fuel subsidy to farmers and fishermen amid the series of oil price increases since January this year.
Apart from the fuel subsidy, farmers and fisherfolk can also avail themselves of discounts on fuel, a program under the Department of Energy (DoE) in coordination with the local government units.