Outgoing Agriculture Secretary William Dar has blamed the meager budget given to his agency for all the problems hounding Filipino farmers and fisherfolk.
“The characterization is because of the limited budgetary support and limited investments in the sector, the sector has stunted growth over these years because of low productivity,” Dar said in the Kapihan sa Manila Bay Forum a week before he steps down from office.
The outgoing Agriculture chief shared his dismay as he recalled that Congress only allotted P85.5 billion for DA under the 2022 national budget despite the African swine fever and bird flu outbreaks. The amount, Dar said, was less than half the P250 billion the DA asked for.
“Ang agrikultura talaga napabayaan, that’s why this is stunted growth. That’s why hindi pa rin tayo makapagbigay ng maraming postharvest facilities,” he added.
Dar volunteered to stay on as DA chief. President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr., however, announced he will personally lead the agency in the face of a food crisis.
For 2023, Dar said the DA laid out a P270-billion proposal to the Department of Budget and Management.