Backbone of Economy

 

RECOGNIZING weaknesses and actually addressing them is the way to go for the government.

It is not enough that the government only emphasizes and boasts of its accomplishments since this will lead to overlooking actual problems and situations that could ultimately lead to failure.

 

Journey to Progress

This was best exemplified when President Duterte emphasized in one of his recent speeches the need for the government to provide assistance to the agriculture sector.

“It is, after all, considered as the backbone of the economy. It forms the basis for food and nutrition security and provides raw materials for industrialization. These are important factors that allow progress to take place in the society,” Duterte said.

“No one should be left behind in our journey to progress and self sufficiency. Remember that we must prioritize the welfare for the disadvantaged and the marginalized,” he said.

 

Lower Budget

After hearing the President’s proclamation, Piñol noted that agriculture despite being the “backbone of the economy,” has a budget that is still far lower than other departments.

“What the DA is asking is just about one-third of the budget of the Department of Education and less than half of the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways,” he said.

Piñol also noted that the current budget for the department is even smaller than the funding given to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

The DA has an approved budget of P45.29 billion for this year, which is 7.46 percent lower than the agency’s 2016 budget of P48.94 billion.

But there is still hope for the 2018 budget, as the Congress and the administration are one in prioritizing the agriculture sector.  

The President stressed that his administration is for the poor and encouraged the public sector to empower farmers and fisher folks “in order to achieve our goals of a bountiful Philippines so that one day in the not so distance future, no Filipino shall go hungry.”

 

Rice production

For this year, government’s rice production target reached 18.57 million metric tons (MMT), 5.33 percent higher than last year’s output of 17.63 MMT.

This translates into a 90 percent self-sufficiency ratio (SSR), according to data from the DA.

Next year the DA’s goal is to harvest 20.34 MMT of paddy rice, from 4.84 million hectares.

SSR is the extent to which a country’s local production of commodities is adequate enough to meet the demand of the whole population, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Earlier, Piñol said he would need at least P400 billion to hit the rice-sufficiency goal in two years.

 

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