Lower budget blamed for agri sector’s lackluster performance
“You cannot squeeze milk from a thin and hungry cow.”
That was Agriculture Emmanuel Piñol said when the country’s economic managers blamed the lackluster performance of agriculture sector for dragging the overall economic results in the second quarter.
“Support and Fund Agriculture so that it could produce more as in, Feed the Hungry and Thin Cow so that it could produce more milk,” Piñol said.
Piñol said how in a recent meeting with House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the economic managers again restated the position that agriculture and rice production are not among the priorities of government.
“I knew it but I never complained even when the budget of the Department of Agriculture was slashed by about P15 billion from P64 billion in 2016 to the proposed P49 billion in 2019,” Piñol said.
“Recently, however, as inflation hit 5.7 percent and the economic growth slowed from 6.7 percent to a still remarkable 6 percent, all eyes were focused on agriculture blaming it for the ‘lackluster’ growth of 0.2 percent in the first two quarters of 2018. The increase in the price of rice was also blamed as the biggest contributor to inflation,” he added.
Piñol said that if the government wants to see the agriculture sector perform, it has to provide enough budget for it.
He also said that ‘importation’ is not always the answer to rising price of goods and that the government must invest on food production.