BACOLOD CITY: Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol assured an improved output and stricter policies from the country’s agricultural and fishery sector.
Speaking before more than 1,000 participants to the 11th National Shrimp Congress held here recently, Piñol said the country’s aquatic resources are abundant but fishermen could not take advantage of it as the fisheries industry has been “long neglected” and “taken for granted” by the previous administrations.
He pointed out that while programs are being designed but every time they are changed once a new administration comes in as there is no continuity in the Philippine agriculture and fisheries sector.
He said because of the neglect the Philippines has been left behind by other nations in food production.
“What an irony since we always talk about rice sufficiency yet we have not come up with specific programs,” he said.
But in recent years, Piñol added, rice production improved from 89 percent to 95.01 percent of the country’s total national requirement.
The Philippines “would be self-sufficient in rice production by 2020,” he said.
He added steps have been taken to ensure that all the funds given to the DA are reaching the agricultural sector, as they have adopted “a strict policy on fund utilization by conducting a budget review and has set a quota to the regional directors to use their allocated funds every quarter by at least 90 percent.”
“I cannot allow government funds to just return to the national treasury unused”, he also said.
Piñol also enhanced the agricultural sector’s technology by introducing an interactive map on the Department of Agriculture’s official website which would help farmers identify the ideal area where they could plant specific crop and locate an ideal source for irrigation.