By Gabriela Baron
Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua said that agriculture has to grow by at least 1.6 percent in order for the country to feed its own people.
“Population growth is 1 percent every year, that is two million additional Filipinos, so agriculture has to grow by at least 1.6 percent, preferably 2 percent or more, otherwise we cannot feed our own people and we will be relying on imports and the price will go up.” Chua said during a panel discussion on Wednesday.
He added that improving the agriculture was the government’s priority in the next three years.
“Every month, we review Train Law, so the Rice Tariffication Law needs to be reviewed as well to see if it is implemented properly,”
The undersecretary added that the price is rice is falling significantly by P10 per kilo.
“Ang pangako lang namin (we only promised), P7, but it’s even more.”
In order to improve farming efficiency, the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEP) provides P10 billion financial aids to around 2.5 million Filipino farmers.
The aid needs to be spent for mechanization, productive seeds, items that improve farming productivity.
“We provide P10 billion a year, guaranteed to help our farmers compete. ‘Pag lagpas P10 billion ang tariffication, lahat ‘yan mapupunta sa farmers.” (If the tariffication exceeded P10 billion, we will all give the excess to the farmers.) Chua ended.