ABS-CBN News : Agri chief endorse 10-year plan, food sufficiency programs to Marcos Jr

By Warren De Guzman | ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Agriculture Secretary William Dar on Wednesday said he would work with the next administration's transition team to ensure the implementation of the agency's proposed 10-year plan as well as the food sufficiency programs.

In a webinar organized by the Economic Journalist Association of the Philippines (EJAP), Dar said he would pitch to the next administration the P2.5 trillion National Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization and Industrialization Plan (NAFMIP) to help improve farm productivity.

The NAFMIP plan assumes a P250 billion budget annually for 10 years, for a total of P2.5 trillion.

Former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos is poised to become the next president after dominating the partial unofficial results of the May 9 elections.

“We have details of the P250 billion budget for next year, anchored on the NAFMIP, the 10-year strategy plan of the Department of Agriculture. We are readying, meron na kaming transition document na anytime now, siguro, wag ngayong week na ito, but within the next 2 weeks ay we will seek audience to the transition camp of President-elect Bong-bong Marcos," Dar said.

Marcos has been tight-lipped about his plans for the Philippines, but he has a campaign promise to reduce the price of rice to P20 per kilo.

Dar said Marcos might have been pertaining to farmgate prices of palay which is currently at P19 per kilo.

"I surmise that what has been mentioned as P20 per kilo is possibly for Palay. Yung farmgate price kasi ngayon presently, ay P19. So ako I am supporting that idea to make it P20 para mas mataas pa ang kita para sa ating ng mga magsasaka," Dar said.

This means the price would be higher once it is milled into rice and sold in the retail market.

But the next administration needs to focus beyond palay and zero in on boosting productivity levels of various commodities using technology to ensure food sufficiency.

"That must always be a primary objective para mas mataas po yung suma total productivity will become higher levels of local food production. Para mas mataas ang sufficiency level. Having said that, we also have to look at the affordability of the food that we produce, competitiveness of this as well," he said.

Supply-side challenges have contributed to inflation since food comprised the largest contribution in a household's spending basket.

Inflation soared when the African Swine Fever reduced pork meat supply locally.

Economic managers have said agriculture must be improved to ensure food security and stable prices in the country.