By Madelaine B. Miraflor
With less than a week for the year, Agriculture Secretary William Dar is optimistic that the country’s agriculture sector has achieved 2-percent growth for the entire 2019, making the industry on track with the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) newly announced ‘2-3-4’ strategy.
During the DA’s last Management Committee meeting for the year, Dar said his agency is now targeting to achieve total agricultural production growth of 2 percent in 2020, 3 percent in 2021, and 4 percent in 2022.
To attain this, Dar stressed that research results must be utilized and maximized.
“Ako po ay baliw na baliw sa research na may resulta [I am crazy over research that would have results],” he said.
During the third quarter, the agri-fishery sector posted a major comeback. At 2.87 percent growth production, the sector was able to reverse -1.27-percent and -0.87-percent contraction posted in the second quarter and the same period in 2018, respectively.
“We are hopeful that this favorable condition will be sustained into the fourth quarter of the year to allow us to attain a full-year growth,” Dar said.
The DA Chief added that as the government continues to push for increased income for the countryside, the DA is focusing efforts on increasing productivity, lowering production cost, value-adding, and market matching.
“DA will give nurturing support to attain the over-aching goals of Ani and Kita towards a food-secure Philippines with prosperous farmers and fishers,” he said.
Last week, the Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed the appointment of Dar. It was in August when he replaced former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, who is now the chair of Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).
“Ako ay Kalihim na hindi maglilihim [I am a Cabinet Secretary who won’t keep secrets],” Dar said.
This was his opening statement when he addressed the members of DA’s Management Committee.
He then urged the top-level officials of the department to join him in the leveling up of Philippine agriculture.
“This is the team. We have to work as one, to enable the sector to contribute substantially to the economic stability of the country,” he said.
In addition, Dar reminded everyone to practice the ease of doing business with due diligence.
“This is the time to be part of the team proactively, and have the mind and heart for new thinking with a vision of food-secure Philippines with prosperous farmers and fishers,” he said.