DA: P8.5-B set aside for rice resiliency project to increase domestic production

Published April 24, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling

The government is aiming to boost the country’s rice sufficiency level to 94 percent from 87 percent by the end of the year.

Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar (Department of Agriculture - Philippines / FACEBOOK / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar (Department of Agriculture – Philippines / FACEBOOK / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the government has set aside P8.5 billion for the implementation of the rice resiliency project to help increase domestic production and ensure food adequacy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Gumawa na tayo ng mga hakbang para ang ending sufficiency level natin sa taon na ito, ay from a level of 87 percent [na ‘yan] lang po kasi ngayon ‘yung napo-produce natin dito sa bansa,” Dar said in the meeting with President Duterte aired on state television Friday morning.

(We have taken steps so our ending sufficiency level for the year will be raised from a level of 87 percent currently being produced in the country),”

“Pero (But) with now the additional P8.5 billion for the rice resiliency project ay it will bring us to 94 percent po ‘yung domestic rice production natin,” he said.

At present, Dar said the country has a rice demand of 14.6 million metric tons while the supply is estimated at 17.9 million metric tons.

The P8.5 billion rice resiliency project is part of the P31-billion supplemental budget requested by the DA to raise the country’s food adequacy level amid the coronavirus pandemic. Dar earlier said they intend to boost palay production to reach 22.12 million metric tons by end of December 2020.

The DA’s budget request has reportedly been approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Plant, plant, plant

Meanwhile, the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program aims to increase the country’s agri-fishery output through the intensified use of quality seeds, appropriate inputs, and modern technologies to enhance productivity levels across all commodities to ensure food availability, accessibility, and affordability amid the pandemic, Dar said.

He also assured the nation that there is adequate supply food amid continued farming and fishing activities during the quarantine period.

He said farming, fishing, and other agriculture-related activities are now at “optimum level.” These activities previously used skeletal workforces at the initial implementation of the quarantine measures.

“But even with that, of course, we were practicing again all the health or quarantine measures. May physical distancing at saka din paggamit ng face mask (use of face masks),” he said.

“Then after one month, pinag — doon sa IATF po, nadagdagan na po ‘yung lebel ng mga aktibidades doon sa kanayunan. So nasa optimum level tayo ngayon sa farming, sa fishing, at related sa lahat po ng — even ‘yung mga manufacturing ng agricultural inputs, fertilizers, pesticides, and the like,” he said.
(Then after one month, the IATF agreed to increase the level of activities in the countryside. Farming, fishing, and related activities, even the manufacturing of agricultural inputs, fertilizers, pesticides, and the like are at the optimum level.)

Movement of food cargoes

Dar also said the problem on the movement of food cargoes across quarantine checkpoints has also been resolved.

“Overall, mayroon tayong sapat po na pagkain. Iyong initial days lang ‘yung mayroon mga sobrang mahigpit sa kanayunan, mas lalo sa barangay na nag-checkpoint, so doon tayo nagkaroon ng little problem. But over this time now, hanggang ngayon nga ay okay na po ‘yung food supplies,” he said.

(Overall, we have sufficient food. In the initial days, we had a little problem with strict checkpoints in the provinces, especially in barangays. But over this time now, the food supplies are okay.)

“Simula’t sapul naman, ang IATF ay nagsabi na (From the start the IATF said) there is unhampered movement ng mga (of) cargoes both food and non-food,” he added.