DA to float P200B bonds to fund FMRs, mechanization
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the Department of Agriculture (DA) has proposed a Bond Floatation Program to finance an ambitious 13,000-kilometer Farm to Market Road (FMR) Construction Project and farm and fisheries mechanization to promote efficiency and greater productivity, including reduction of post-harvest losses.
According to him, the proposal has been welcomed by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez and Central Bank Governor Nestor Espenilla, who both said that the measure would utilize the vast resources of private and commercial banks who are required by law to lend 25% of their loan funds to the agriculture and fisheries sector.
A technical team of the Agriculture Department is now preparing the documents to be presented to the National Treasury for the Bond Floatation.
Piñol said about P140 billion is needed over the next four years to finance the massive FMR network construction, which would not only promote greater productivity and lower the cost of food commodities in the market but also create employment in the countryside where the poverty incidence is considerably high.
And then, he said another P60 billion in bonds will be floated to finance the mechanization program, which will involve the acquisition of farm machinery and equipment, including post harvest facilities in agriculture and fisheries.
The country currently loses 16 percent of its grains harvest because of the lack of post-harvest facilities while 40 percent of the fishermen’s catch is spoiled because of the absence of ice-making plants and cold storage.
“The Bond Floatation Program is expected to be presented to the National Treasurer soon and implemented within the year,” Piñol said.