Rice self-sufficiency goal deferred due to lack of funds
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said government pushed back its rice self-sufficiency target due to lack of funds.
Piñol was quoted by the Philippine News Agency as saying that the budget department asked the DA to defer the full implementation of its rice self-sufficiency program by next year because there is no budget available for adjustments or realignments.
” So, we decided to lay the groundwork first, then move to full implementation of the program starting 2017 and hit rice self sufficiency by 2019,” he said.
Because of this, Piñol said he has raised his budget request from P46 billion to P71 billion.
He said the first tranche of the three-year rice program which would cost P31 billion. But he said the budget for the initiative will be lowered to P19 billion on the third year.
The target palay production is 18.517 million metric tons (MT) in 2017, 20.342 million MT in 2018, and 21.626 million MT or rice self-sufficiency in 2019.
To achieve this, the DA wants to increase average productivity by one metric ton per hectare in the next three years, or from 3.98 MT per hectare in 2017 to about 4.64 MT per hectare by 2019.