Lawmaker pushes for bigger agriculture budget

MANILA � As the world observes the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Senator Francis Pangilinan is pushing for an increase in the 2020 budget of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to help eradicate poverty and ensure food security.

Pangilinan said raising the agriculture budget would allow Agriculture Secretary Willliam Dar to meet his agricultural growth target of 2 percent by the end of the first year to ensure food security, as well as uplift the lives of the poor.

"One in every five Filipinos lives in poverty not eating enough, in poor health, living in abject conditions. This situation is unacceptable given that we are a country rich in natural resources and human talent," Pangilinan said in a statement on Thursday.

"Ang pinakamaraming mahihirap ay mga magsasaka, mangingisda, at mga bata (The highest poverty incidence is among farmers, fishermen, and children)," he added, citing 2015 government data indicating that the farming sector posted the highest poverty incidence at 34.3 percent.

He cited the need to give farmers meaningful assistance to make them productive and competitive.

The lawmaker also noted that relevant and right policies should be in place to boost the sector, make their livelihood sustainable, and capacitate them to face the challenges of food security and world trade.

Citing the DA chief, Pangilinan said that prosperity is non-existent in almost all agricultural households as a typical Filipino farmer only earn an average of PHP100,000 per year or only a little more than PHP8,000 a month.

"Thus, the challenge is to raise the farmers' income, triple or even quadruple it, so that it becomes a livable rate," he said.

"Farmers should feel this and should be able to partake of this, and the best proof is seeing their incomes increase," he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency