MANILA – Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar on Wednesday recommended to lawmakers a PHP66-billion stimulus plan to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on the agriculture sector.
During a virtual hearing of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food, Dar said the stimulus package would include PHP15 billion for the cash for work program for agri-fishery workers, PHP20 billion for food logistics or food markets, and PHP31 billion for “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat” (Alpas) Kontra sa Covid-19 Program.
Dar said the cash for work program aims to provide jobs to one million agri-fishery workers by granting each beneficiary aid amounting to PHP15,000.
“The goal of this cash for work program is to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 by ensuring basic food requirements of poor farming families,” he said.
“The DA will be actively involved in the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pagasa Program. We are also aligning the department to the program for 2021,” he added.
For the food logistics program proposal, he said PHP15 billion will be allocated for food logistics and food markets, PHP1.8 billion for expanding extension support to the provincial local government units, PHP1 billion for the strengthening of price monitoring and enforcement system, PHP1 billion for agricultural and fisheries commodity exchange system, PHP1 billion for digital agriculture, and PHP200 million for communication support to Agri-4Ps (Plant, Plant, Plant Program).
The program seeks to ensure proper food distribution and strengthen food supply links from farms to markets.
For the PHP31-billion funding for Alpas Kontra sa Covid-19, Dar said PHP8 billion will be allocated for rice buffer stocking, PHP8.24 billion for rice resiliency program during the dry season, PHP1.75 billion for integrated livestock and corn resiliency, PHP1 billion for expanded coconut-based diversification project, PHP1.2 billion for fisheries resiliency project, PHP2 billion for expanded SURE Aid and Recovery Project, and PHP2 billion for expanded agriculture insurance project.
Also included in the Alpas Kontra sa Covid-19 program are the upscaling of kadiwa in ani at kita program amounting to PHP1 billion, expanded small ruminants and poultry at PHP1 billion, enhanced white corn production for food resiliency at PHP300 million, urban agriculture project at PHP500 million, revitalized gulayan project at PHP1 billion, sustained information, education and communication project at PHP500 million, and social amelioration program for farmers and fishers at PHP3 billion. (ia/PNA)