100% rice self-sufficiency target, moved to 2021
Given some adjustments from its proposed budget, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said that its target year to achieve 100% rice self sufficiency will be moved by another two years.
“We will have a slight delay, probably by 2020 to 2021. We will just have to make use of what we have. It’s difficult but I have to wage the battle. We just have to really focus on our resources and lessen our expenses,” DA Secretary Manny Piñol told Philippine Star in an interview.
The Department of Budget and Management finance team did not approve the P18 billion proposed Rice Productivity Enhancement (RIPE) program. This is the first level of the three-year rice program valued at P64 billion that would concentrate on rice production which includes inputs, seeds, new areas, irrigation projects and fertilizers, Philippine Star said.
The DA’s approved budget and its attached agencies for 2017 was only at P50.6 billion, lower by P3.4 billion than this year’s level.
The DA chief asked a 31% increase in the department’s 2017 budget to P71 billion, the report said.
Piñol initially announced that he’s eyeing to attain rice self-sufficiency by 2018, but moved it to 2019 due to lack of funds.
“The past performance of the DA in terms of absorption and expenditure also affected our budget ceiling. The Finance team based their budget ceiling on the previous administration performance,” he said in the report.
“I still believe that unless government makes huge investments in agriculture and fisheries, we will never be successful in our effort to combat poverty in the countryside and ensure food sufficiency for the country,” he added.