Duterte bats for elevation of food adequacy level amid crisis

Duterte bats for elevation of food adequacy level amid crisis

MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday cited the importance of the “Plant, Plant, Plant” program of the Department of Agriculture, stressing the vital role it plays in helping feed Filipinos and push the economy forward.

In his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), Duterte said the program aims to provide adequate, accessible, and affordable food for every Filipino.

Duterte said a PHP66-billion agricultural stimulus package, which includes the Plant, Plant, Plant program, will help the agricultural and fisheries sector recover from the blow of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar previously recommended to lawmakers a PHP66-billion stimulus plan which will be used to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on the agriculture sector.

The stimulus package would include PHP15 billion for the cash-for-work program for agri-fishery workers, PHP20 billion for the food logistics or food markets, and PHP31 billion for “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat” (Alpas) Kontra sa Covid-19 Program, or popularly called the “Plant, Plant, Plant” program.

Aside from farmers and fishers, the program will also benefit consumers.

Dar earlier said the department is guided by the “whole-of-nation” approach of Duterte, to increase the country’s food adequacy level during the emergency situation resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The program seeks to increase national agri-fishery output through intensified use of quality seeds, appropriate inputs, and modern technologies to increase levels of productivity across all commodities, ensuring food productivity, availability, accessibility, and affordability amidst the threat of the pandemic.

Duterte added that he is requesting both houses of the Congress to pass the Rural Agriculture and Fisheries Development Financing System, as well as a version of the bill establishing the Coconut Farmers Trust Fund.

He said the coconut levy fund must be used for the welfare of coconut farmers in the country and for the development of the whole coconut industry.

Duterte urged lawmakers to create laws that would help farmers “because our economy depends on a robust agricultural sector”. Marita Moaje /PNA – northboundasia.com