Gov’t pushes digitalized, mechanized farm sector

The Department of Finance (DOF) said the government is rapidly digitalizing the country’s agricultural systems and mechanizing farm production to ensure food security over the long run. During the virtual 2020 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the government wants to turn the coronavirus-induced health emergency into an opportunity. Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO) To do so, Dominguez said efforts to implement the twin measures are being done to expand Filipinos’ market access for food producers while keeping food supply available and prices affordable. “We are confident that the innovative measures we are putting in place today will transform Philippine agriculture into a dynamic, high-growth sector that will fuel our country’s strong recovery,” Dominguez said during the high-level Food Security Roundtable at the meeting. Dominguez said the government is also promoting digital marketing to support ongoing efforts to boost consumer spending in the new normal and sustaining public investments in rural infrastructure. He added that the government is accelerating the move towards agricultural technology-based farming and value chain development to ensure long-term food security.  To channel more funds into the agriculture sector, the government is also encouraging more private-sector financing in the sector by proposing reforms in the Congress that will provide more access to credit for the entire agricultural value chain, Dominguez said.   “We all aspire for greater food and nutrition security for our people. Only an efficient and modern agriculture sector can fully deliver that,” Dominguez, who was Agriculture secretary during the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino, said. Amid pandemic, Dominguez III said the Philippines has been handling the COVID-19 crisis “with strength on the food security front” duets reforms, particularly with the passage of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL). According to Dominguez, the agriculture sector was “one of the brightest spots” of the Philippines’s response to the pandemic owing in large part to the RTL. He pointed out that agriculture sector even continued to grow when the rest of the economy contracted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Dominguez said rice tariffication was among the main reasons why the government has succeeded in keeping food prices and supply stable, and inflation low during the COVID-19 emergency.  Keeping rice prices stable has been helpful for low-income households that spend a fifth of their budgets on rice alone, he added.   “The Philippines faced the COVID-19 pandemic with strength on the food security front,” Dominguez said.  He pointed out that despite logistical restrictions resulting from the lockdowns imposed to protect people and communities from the lethal coronavirus, the government was able to sustain the flow of produce from local farms to Filipino consumers.   “A food crisis did not happen. This is credited to the effective management of the food supply by our Agriculture Department,” Dominguez said......»»

Category: newsSource: 8th, 2020

PPP Center pushes P26 billion PGH projects

The COVID-19 pandemic should force the government to put in more resources in the healthcare system with the support of the private sector to better prepare for future crises......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 19th, 2021

In 5 months, LANDBANK hits over 80% of farm loans target

State-run Land Bank of the Philippines is already close to hitting this year’s target for lending to the farm sector as of May, the Department of Finance reported Friday......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2021

Group pushes first border control facilities vs ASF

A private sector group wants the Philippine Ports Authority to greenlight the construction of first border control facilities, noting these will be vital in curbing the spread of the African swine fever in the country......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 5th, 2021

Food security plan

A food security summit is timely in the face of soaring food prices and the still-underdeveloped agriculture sector. It is an occasion to revisit the farm sector that has underperformed in pre-COVID-19 times compared with the rest of the economy......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 12th, 2021

DA officials reshuffled

The Department of Agriculture reshuffled officials in key positions as part of its strategy to improve the performance of the farm sector this year......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 14th, 2021

Agriculture modernization still priority for 2021

As the new year ushers in, the government is still banking on the mechanization and industrialization of the agriculture sector to boost the growth of the farm sector and contribute further to economic recovery......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 4th, 2021

Farm sector likely grew 1% in 2020

The Department of Agriculture remained optimistic in the overall performance of the farm sector in 2020 even as the momentum slowed down due to the consecutive typhoons that battered the sector near the end of 2020......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 4th, 2021

DA expects 2.5% growth in farm, fishery sector in 2021

The Department of Agriculture expects a modest growth of 2.5 percent in agriculture next year, faster than the 1-percent increase this year amid the pandemic......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2020

Palay output slightly up in Q4

The country’s production of palay (unhusked rice) likely inched up in the fourth quarter despite the consecutive typhoons that hit the farm sector......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 21st, 2020

Lufthansa unit pushes ahead with $40 million hangar expansion

Lufthansa Technik Philippines is pushing through with its $40-million hangar expansion in Pasay amid cash challenges due to the COVID-19’s impact on the aviation sector......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2020

DA urged to resume issuance of rice import permits

The Department of Agriculture is urged to resume the issuance of rice import permits so as not to disrupt the supply of Filipinos’ main staple after the consecutive typhoons wrought damage in the farm sector......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 22nd, 2020

Millennials encouraged to go into smart farming

The Philippines aims to transform the local farm sector into a competitive, science- and technology-backed industry, managed by young innovative Filipinos......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 21st, 2020

Ulysses seen to bring down agriculture performance in Q4

The farm sector, considered as the saving grace of the economy amid the pandemic, is expected to turn in a negative performance in the fourth quarter with a significant drop in palay (unhusked rice) production following the massive damage of Typhoon Ulysses......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 17th, 2020

Filipino-French couple cuts & lsquo;pilapil& rsquo; out of rice farms

A Filipino-French couple is redesigning the rice sector in Leyte province, by cutting “pilapil” or farm ridge, chemicals and middlemen out of the old system of farming and trading......»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 31st, 2020

Coconut farmers are poorest agri people

Coconut farmers are now the poorest people in the agriculture sector, much poorer than when they were 30 years ago.  This was the assessment of Danny Carranza, a coconut farmer and member the Kilusan Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo at Katarungang Panlipunan (Katarungan). (MB FILE, Keith Bacongco) Carranza blamed the coconut farmers’ poverty on the low copra prices, inability to intercrop and modernize, and now the COVID-19 pandemic, which isolates some of them who are living in far-flung areas.                “If you’re going to compare, we are much poorer now than we were back in 1990,” said Carranza. Carranza said the “crisis in coconut” that started in the 1990s was never resolved, but even worsened especially when farmers failed to diversify and intercrop before copra prices, dictated by world prices, crashed in 2019 and in the previous years.              “The price of copra is improving, reaching P16/kg from P8/kg last year, but that is still not enough,” Carranza said, adding that farmers’ income from a hectare of coconut plantation does not reach P10,000 anymore.            At present, about 95 percent of the 3.5 million hectares of coconut farms in the Philippines are meant to produce copra, which is the material for coconut oil manufacturing.  But with the collapse of the prices of coconut oil in the world market over the last two years, prices of copra have also dropped plunging farmers into deeper poverty. According to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), prices of copra at farmgate as of October 15 stood at P21.86/kg, which is higher compared to P14.55/kg price level during the same day last year.           But Carranza said that it normally takes three to four years for coconut farmers to recover when a typhoon hits their plantation because coconut trees don’t recover fast. Several typhoons have devastated coconut trees lately.  “Farmers’ income is dictated by world prices, they don’t have enough funds to modernize their industry, and the government has failed to support them in the diversification of their coconut plantations,” Carranza said.  “Then things got worse because of climate change. And then, because of lockdown, a lot of farmers who live in far-flung areas were isolated and couldn’t deliver their produce,” he added.   In 2018, farmers working in coconut farms only received a daily nominal wage rate of P264, based on Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data.   To alleviate the current situation of coconut farmers, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has announced that it will soon distribute a P5,000 worth of assistance to coconut farmers, which will be withdrawn from the agency’s P24-billion stimulus package granted under ‘Bayanihan 2’. The problem, according to Carranza, is that the assistance may only benefit farmers who own 1 hectare of coconut plantations or less. The PCA is also setting aside a portion of its budget to finance on-farm and off-farm livelihood projects for coconut farmers such as intercropping and livestock. Meanwhile, Pambansang Kilusan ng Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (PKMP) Chairman Eduardo Mora said the legal team of Senator Bong Go pledged to help coconut farmers push for provisions that they want to be included in the Coco Levy Act, the proposed law that will pave the way for the release of the P100-billion coco levy fund.           “It was the office of Senator Bong Go that informed us that the senate version of Coco Levy Act was already passed in third and final reading. But his legal team also assured to help us in the congress version of the law, in bicameral, and in the drafting of the IRR [implementing rules and regulation] of the law,” Mora told Business Bulletin.         Mora’s group, which represents more than a hundred thousand coconut farmers in the country, has been calling for increased farmers’ representation in the planned coconut trust fund management committee.         Coconut farmers also don’t want the funds to be handled by PCA, Mora said.         Business Bulletin already sought for Agriculture Secretary William Dar’s reaction regarding the farmers’ opposition of the Coco Levy Act, but he hasn’t responded yet. .....»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 24th, 2020

Pacquiao seeks probe of Rice Tarrification Law, RCEF

Boxing icon and Sen. Manny Pacquiao has sought a Senate inquiry into the implementation of the Rice Tarrification Law, particularly the utilization of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF). Senator Manny Pacquiao(EPA/JOSEPH VIDAL / PRIB / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO) In a resolution, Pacquiao said the purpose of Republic Act (RA) 11203, also known as the Rice Tariffication Law, is to ensure food security and to make the country’s agriculture sector viable, efficient, and globally competitive. President Duterte signed RA 11203 on Feb. 14, 2019. ‘’But after more than a year of its implementation, we have yet to fully account for the utilization of the RCEF,’’ Pacquiao stressed. Pacquiao said that before the implementation of RA 11203, the farm gate price of palay averaged P21.39 per kilo but when imported rice started flooding the market, it instantly dropped to P17.88 per kilo. Recent accounts from farmers disclosed that in Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Sorsogon, Tarlac, and Laguna, the farm gate price is P7 up to P10 per kilo. Pacquiao said RA 11203 has provided the framework for the establishment of the RCEF which was set up to improve rice farmers’ competitiveness and income amid liberalization of the Philippine rice trade policy that lifted quantitative restrictions on rice imports and replaced it with tariffs, among others. The RCEF or the Rice Fund has a P10-billion annual appropriation for the next six years which will be drawn from taxes generated from rice import tariffs. The Department of Finance (DoF) and the Bureau of Customs (BoC) which are the lead agencies responsible for the collection of the import tariffs must account for the volume of rice imports since the lifting of the quantitative restriction on rice imports, the amount of tariffs collected, and the amount allocated to the RCEF, Pacquiao pointed out. The Department of Agriculture (DA) which is primarily tasked to manage the RCEF must provide a complete and detailed report on the disbursement and the utilization of the fund which was supposed to cushion the impact of rice import liberalization to the Filipino farmers, he added......»»

Category: newsSource: NewsOct 24th, 2020

Kapuso Foundation provides school supplies, anti-COVID kits to students

GMA Kapuso Foundation (GMAKF) pushes ahead with its project “Unang Hakbang sa Kinabukasan,” providing school supplies as well as anti-COVID kits for public elementary school students in time for the opening of classes this October. Through the help of multi-sector partners, GMAKF aims to help 80,000 incoming kinder and grade 1 pupils from the top 25 poorest provinces across the […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsOct 6th, 2020

Agriculture sector seen growing by 2% this year

The Department of Agriculture is bringing back its two percent growth target for the farm sector for 2020 as major commodities are expected to lead the performance......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 27th, 2020

DA allots P100 million for R& D initiatives

The government is allocating P100 million to beef up its research and development to address the diseases and other challenges that the farm sector is facing......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 25th, 2020

Think tank pushes higher budget for government digitalization

A private sector think tank said Congress should approve a higher budget for the digitalization of the bureaucracy next year to improve productivity and efficiency in the delivery of government services......»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsSep 14th, 2020