The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Thursday said its PHP167.5 billion proposed budget for next year would focus on investments that lower production costs, improve the value chains and promote agricultural consolidation and modernization.
In a statement, the DA said its budget for 2024 is in line with the directives of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to boost the country’s local agricultural production for food security and economic growth.
The House of Representatives on Sept. 25 approved the department’s proposed 2024 budget, which is 6 percent higher than its 2023 budget.
The allocation includes PHP30.869 billion for the National Rice Program, PHP6.09 billion for the National Fisheries Program, and PHP5.28 billion for the National Corn Program.
The DA added that PHP4.35 billion is set aside for the National Livestock Program while PHP1.94 billion is allocated to the National High Value Crops Development Program.
The National Organic Agriculture Program, National Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture Program, and the Halal Food Industry Development Program would each receive PHP921 million, PHP436 million, and PHP19 million, respectively.
Other salient features of the DA budget include the allocation of PHP9.80 billion for the hybrid rice seed assistance, PHP9.55 billion for fertilizer assistance, PHP2.750 billion for agricultural credit programs.
Some PHP2.49 billion is also allotted for yellow corn seeds and fertilizers, and PHP2.20 billion for hog repopulation and recovery.
An allocation of PHP1 billion will be for Quick Response Fund, PHP492.7 million for the Kadiwa Program, PHP374 million for onion cold storage, PHP236.6 million for aquaculture and mariculture.
A total of PHP230 million is also earmarked for legislated hatcheries, PHP149.31 million for durian expansion, and PHP30.91 million for community gardens.
DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban thanked the lower chamber for the passage of the agency’s budget.
Meanwhile, Isabela Rep. Antonio “Tonypet” Albano, sponsor of the DA’s budget, said the proposed budget “is a clear articulation of the administration’s agenda for agricultural development that is the very foundation of our nation’s sustained growth in the years ahead.”
He said the DA would be able pursue the reduction of production costs, enhance capabilities for local production, provide essential support services from farm inputs to requisite farm machinery and infrastructure, and promote farm and fisheries modernization. (PNA)