The national government has proposed budget increases for agricultural programs next year to boost crop production, meet domestic food requirements, and improve access to affordable staples, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said yesterday.
Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad said the agriculture department will receive P73.6 billion under the proposed 2013 Empowerment Budget, 19.9 percent higher than the total allocation for this year.
“With heftier budgetary support, the DA is better-positioned to bridge the domestic supply with the growing demand for food, especially for rice, corn, fish, and coconut. The department’s increased budget will also go towards fixing irrigation systems, providing access to credit and safety nets, and investing in farm-to-market roads and post-harvest technologies,” Abad said.
Of the P73.6-billion fund for the agriculture department, P15.3 billion has been earmarked for the department’s banner agricultural programs, while P7.5 billion will be used to support the National Rice Program’s targeted output of 20 million metric tons. Another P1.5 billion will also be given to the National Corn Program for the harvest of 8.4 million metric tons for 2013.
Furthermore, the Bureau of Fisheries will receive P4.6 billion under the 2013 proposed budget for the protection of fishery resources to yield a sustainable 5.4 million metric tons of fish, while the Philippine Coconut Authority will get a P1.7-billion allocation to help it reach its yield target of 3.13 million metric tons.
“We’re planting the seeds of food self-sufficiency so that we won’t have to rely on imports by the end of 2013. The budget increases for DA—together with the Administration’s focus on our grain and crop programs—should help the agency meet the targets set for it next year, as well as enable the Administration to combat hunger and poverty in the long-term,” Abad said.
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