By Gabriela Baron
Department of Agriculture secretary William Dar sees Build Build Build as a solution to accelerate the construction development of national irrigation systems.
“Marami pang problema (there are a lot of problems) in terms of irrigation system, we have one million hectares needing national system irrigation development,” said Dar in an interview with ANC on Thursday.
Dar vowed to correct the development framework of agriculture through modernization programs like Build Build Build and elevation of the national irrigation systems.
He added that the present administration is taking ‘serious steps’ in helping farmers become more productive and competitive through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
“Mas malaki income nila, P10 billion ang nakaallocate sa (their income will increase because of the P10 billion budget allocated in the) rice production program,”
According to the Agriculture secretary, five million is utilized for mechanization, three million is for seed development, seed distribution, and programs for promotion of hybrid rice technology, one billion is allotted for credit facility, and the remaining one billion is for skills development.
“Sana po umangat na po ang agrikultura kasi mataas na ‘yong priority and investment na ibinibigay ng gobyerno, tsaka hihikayatin po natin ang pagnenegosyo ng pribadong sektor,” (We hope that we can make our agriculture grow because we are prioritizing it and really investing in it, we are also encouraging private sectors to open up their businesses.) Dar added.
Dar said that he wants the Philippines to be a ‘food-secure’ country with prosperous farmers and fisherfolks.
“Itaas natin ang productivity level ng agrikultura at ‘yong kita ng magsasaka. (Let us increase the productivity level of agriculture and the income of our farmers.)” he ended.
In the last ten years, the average growth of the agriculture sector is only 1.1 percent but Dar targets to increase it to 1.8 percent to 2 percent by 2020.