DA wants ‎₱284-B budget for 2021

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 8) — The agriculture department is seeking a ‎₱284.4-billion budget for 2021, in a bid to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is a 255-percent or ₱204-billion increase from its 2020 budget, worth ‎₱79.9 billion.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said Wednesday the high budgetary request will help assist those who seek new productivity in the farming and agriculture sector after the months-long lockdown drastically reduced employment opportunities.

"This is [also] intended to sustain and reboot the agriculture and fisheries sector amid the challenges brought by the pandemic," Dar said before a hearing of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food.

The agency is seeking a ₱55.9-billion budget for its rice sub-sector, ₱11.2 billion for the livestock sector, ₱22.5 billion for fisheries, ₱6.6 billion for corn, and ₱960 million for organic agriculture.

For its other support program, it is requesting a ₱3-billion budget for market development services and ₱114 million to help develop the Halal food industry.

The Office of the Secretary has also allocated a ₱130.8-billion budget for locally funded projects.

"[In order to achieve our goals], we need to strengthen further the partnership with local government units," Dar added.

The Department of Agriculture's key targets under its proposal covers industrialization which includes quality control and inspection of agriculture products and facilities, and establishment of quarantine and sanitary clearances in its projects. It also targets export promotion, farm consolidation, and legislative support for agriculture and fishery policies.

The department also seeks funding for agricultural machinery, farm-to-market roads, and irrigation network services as part of infrastructure development.

The agency noted that the Department of Budget and Management has only given them an overall budget ceiling of ‎₱61 billion for now. They are hoping to get the additional ₱222 billion under the second-tier approach for new and expanded budget once spending requirements will be fulfilled for the preceding year.