Thursday , 18 April 2024

DA 2025 budget to focus on agriculture modernization, increased food production, food security

Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr. said he would  propose significant changes in DA’s  2025 budget to achieve President Marcos, Jr.’s goal of modernizing agriculture, increased food production and food security.

“The budget in 2025 will be very different from this year’s,” Laurel told members of the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI) recently.

Apart from pushing the production of rice, the country’s staple,  Laurel wants a budget that will increase livestock, poultry, and high-value crop output, widen irrigation coverage using solar-powered systems, and improve post-harvest.

He said the budget for fertilizers needs to be reviewed since fertigation—using fertilizer solutions with irrigation water—has proven a more cost-effective agriculture practice. “Fertigation saves 40 percent of fertilizer while doubling production,” he said. 

Since it takes several years for large irrigation projects to be completed, Sec. Tiu Laurel said he is looking to quickly irrigate 180,000 hectares by using solar-powered irrigation systems. He earlier estimated that these additional irrigated areas would yield as much as 1.2 million metric tons of palay per year or more than 6 metric tons per hectare a year compared with the national average yield of 4.1 metric tons in 2023.

The DA was given a budget of P197.84 billion this year, with P118.66 billion earmarked for rice-related initiatives.

PCAFI has recommended a reduction in rice-related budget and redistributing it to high-value and other crops and livestock and poultry, whose contributions to agriculture output of 33.8 percent and 30 percent, respectively, are higher than rice’s 23 percent share.

The 2024 budget of the DA has set aside P5.03 billion of high-value and other crops and P6.15 billion for livestock and poultry.

Laurel acknowledged the industry group’s recommendations and even invited PCAFI to send a representative during the DA’s budget preparation conference.

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