December 8, 2023

The Marcos administration is seeking a higher allocation of P197.84 billion for the agriculture sector in 2024, the Department of Budget and Management said.

Under the 2024 National Expenditure Program (NEP), the Department of Agriculture and its various sub-programs will receive the proposed funding next year.

The DBM said the proposed budget represents a six-percent increase from the current budget allocation of P186.54B.

“The Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing (AFF) sector, having witnessed a growth of 2.2 percent in 2023, accounted for 9.1 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in the first quarter of this year. The government is set to increase the AFF’s budget allocation for 2024 and thereby sustain its growth trajectory,” DBM stated.

DBM Sec. Amenah Pangandaman said the 2024 budget plan would continue to support programs that boost the local production of major agricultural commodities, including rice, corn, and other high-value crops.

The 2024 NEP proposed the allotment of P30.9B for the National Rice Program; P10B for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement (RCEF); P5.3B for the National Corn Program; P4.3B for the National Livestock Program; and P1.9B for the National High-Value Crops Development Program.

The Sugar Regulatory Administration, an attached agency of the DA, would receive P1B for its Sugarcane Industry Development Program.

The Marcos administration also sought the allocation of P9B for the National Food Authority’s Buffer Stocking Program to procure 473,684 metric tons of palay.

The Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. will also receive P4.5B for a program designed to safeguard farmers and fisherfolk from losses incurred due to natural disasters, crop diseases, and pest infestations.

The Agricultural Credit Policy Council will be granted P2.8B to roll out the Agro-Industry Modernization Credit and Financing Program, a flexible credit facility that would benefit farmers and fisherfolk who are registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture.

The DBM also noted the government’s strategic plan to improve the state of the country’s natural resources, saying the National Soil Health Program would get P916 million, along with the Department of Science and Technology’s National Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Sector Research and Development Program collectively funded with P1B.

An allocation of P70M would go to the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute’s Fisheries Biotechnology R&D Program, specifically the Hatchery Production Program.

“Expanding food systems and productivity to benefit the entire population, especially agricultural workers, requires investing in agricultural infrastructure,” the DBM said, adding the DA’s Farm-to-Market Road Program would get P17.3B for the construction of 1,144.58 kilometers of roadways.

To combat water scarcity, the government earmarked P31.2B for the National Irrigation Administration for the development of 31,548 hectares of irrigated agricultural land, the DBM said.

The Local Water Utilities Administration’s Water Supply and Sanitation Program will be given P364M for the provision of Level 3 potable water supply and proper sanitation systems.

“Additionally, they will support the implementation of sanitation projects in areas covered by the Manila Bay Continuing Mandamus,” the DBM said.

It said the National Fisheries Program would also get P6.9B to elevate the standard of agri-fishery practices, and product quality, as well as farmers’ and fisherfolk’s income.

The department added that the Phi-lippine Fisheries Development Authority would receive an allocation of P4.9B for the construction, rehabilitation, and upgrade of fish ports nationwide.

It said an additional P211M would be allocated to the Boosting Aquaculture Production Program to address a 10-percent target increase in local fish production and fill the supply deficit.  – PNA