July 17, 2024

The Department of Agriculture-Cordillera is forwarding a 10-year agriculture and fisheries development plan for the region amounting to more than P75 billion to the incoming administration.

DA-Cordillera Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Division Chief, Dr. Susan D. Balanza, reported the region will need a total of P75,498,410,000 to implement its National Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization and Industrialization Plan, which the regional agency hopes will be adopted and supported by the Marcos administration through the DA central office.

Balanza said the budgetary requirement covers five types of commodity systems which are rice-based which need P2.18B; corn, livestock, and poultry-based – P15.67B; commodity neutral-based – P54.27B; geographically specialized based – P2.98B; and fisheries-based – P380.1 million.

In 2021, the Cordillera was allotted P1.7B for agriculture and almost P1.8B for 2022.

Balanza said the agency used the provided budgets for programs and projects in 2021 and 2022 as bases in coming up with the 10-year development plan.

For 2022, the DA-CAR is implementing P373,866,000 worth of interventions to enhance productivity and food sufficiency through provisions of seeds and planting materials, animal  breeding materials, vaccines, and production materials targeting 33,669 farmer-beneficiaries and 497 farmer group beneficiaries.

A budget of more than P44M will be used to address the increasing prices of fertilizers through scaling up of balanced fertilization strategy, distribution of inorganic and organic fertilizers, soil ameliorants, and compost activators, and intensified monitoring of fertilizer and pesticide handlers and establishments.

To address food inflation, P65.71M is allocated for the whole year for market development support, production support, fast-tracking of implementation and completion of swine repopulation projects, promotion of raising alternative meat sources such as rabbit and poultry in viable areas, better supply-demand system, promotion of off-season production through establishment of enhanced production facilities, credit support, and infrastructure development or farm to market roads.

The DA has also provided funds for swine repopulation amounting to P247,533,000 and P1,750,000 for continuous surveillance and depopulation of infected areas, intensive information dissemination, disinfection, and restocking with sentinel poultry.

Fuel subsidies are also given to farmers because of high fuel prices, and funds are also devoted to improving logistics and food mobilization.

In its statement of direction and priorities, the DA-CAR said it is geared towards making the Cordillera as a major contributor to national food security in terms of semi-temperate vegetables and fruits while sustaining self-sufficiency in rice, root crops, and ornamentals; attaining sufficiency in livestock and fish; and to be an agri-business hub for Arabica coffee and semi-temperate vegetables consistent with the watershed nature and indigenous character of the region. – Hanna C. Lacsamana