By Lilybeth G. Ison
MANILA, July 9 (PNA) — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released some P2.94 billion to the Department of Agriculture (DA) to fund the construction and procurement of community post-harvest development services and facilities nationwide.
Under the DA budget for the Provision of Agricultural Equipment and Facilities (PAEF) this year, the latest release will support its post-harvest facility requirements of various programs, including the National Rice Program, National Livestock Program, and National Corn Program.
Post-harvest services covered by the release will include drying, milling, and processing facilities; various equipment, including tractors, transplanters, plows, dryers, and seed cleaners; as well as other basic equipment.
“Proper post-harvest facilities are key to the success of our banner agriculture programs. By giving our farming communities the necessary equipment and infrastructure, we can help make the post-harvest process much more efficient for them. This, in turn, will allow our farmers to preserve the quality of their crops and minimize the risk of post-harvest losses,” said DBM Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad in a statement on Wednesday.
Under the special provisions in this year’s General Appropriations Act (GAA), the DA was tasked to prioritize areas where majority of farmers listed under the Registry System on Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) are located.
Provinces or regions with a high incidence of poverty — as identified by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) — are likewise supported in this fund release.
Abad said this ensures the implementation of post-harvest development facilities in the areas where the support is most needed, as specified by the DA in submission of their master plan to the DBM.
Of the different regions, Region XII (SOCCKSARGEN), which includes the provinces of North Cotabato and Sarangani, will receive the largest share of the release, with P396.8 million allotted to the region.
This is followed by the Ilocos Region (Region I), which includes the high-disaster risk areas of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, for which P321.9 million has been allocated.
Meanwhile, the Bicol Region (Region V), which covers Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, and Masbate — also poor and disaster-prone provinces — will receive P284.4 million.
“The Aquino administration will continue to work closely with our agricultural communities so we can boost the local agri-industry and make it a driving force in the country’s economic growth. Crucial to this is building the capacity of our farmers towards greater productivity, as well as bringing more commercial opportunities to their respective communities,” the DBM chief said. (PNA)