Farmers will be prioritized in the national budget throughout the Duterte administration, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano assured on Thursday.
“[Around] P120 billion has been allotted to the agriculture sector for [the next] five years to push for rural development,” the DAR quoted Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno as saying, during the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) forum held for agrarian reform beneficiaries in Davao City last Wednesday.
In a statement, the DAR, quoting Diokno, said the agency had been assured of P9.8 billion to reach its target to distribute 48,000 hectares of agricultural lands within this year.
An allocation of P46 billion, meanwhile, has been earmarked for the Department of Agriculture (DA) for agricultural research and development, market expansion, agricultural and fisheries support and construction of farm-to-market roads this year.
At least P51 billion is earmarked for other agriculture-related agencies such as the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) and the National Food Authority (NFA), the DAR said.
The Rice Production Enhancement Program (RPEP), which helps farmers increase their production, was allocated a budget of P9.7 billion for 2017, while PhilRice, which supports the development of high-yield seedlings, was allocated with P561 million.RAM/rga