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PIA Press Release

DA pushes P3.5-B supplemental budget to increase agri production

by Prix D Banzon

Davao City (1 February) -- President Arroyo has no objection to the Department of Agriculture (DA) request for a supplemental budget of P3.5 billion to fund rehabilitation of existing infrastructures that would augment agriculture production.

DA Secretary Arthur Yap in a press conference on Wednesday after gracing the inauguration of several projects of the Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA) in Davao City said the supplemental budget is needed to rehabilitate existing irrigation system otherwise losses in terms of areas will continue to increase.

"There is no objection to the move except that the President wants to know where to put it. Without the fundamentals kahit anong seeds and ilagay mo wala pa ring mangyayari. And even if we introduce that now we still could not benefit from it at this time," he said.

He said 2007 is an investment year meaning the needed infrastructures including its rehabilitation has to take place.

"Whoever will sit next, the government has to address this otherwise our target for self sufficiency by 98 percent will not be achieved," he said.

Yapat out of the 4 million hectares of ricelands, 1.5 million are irrigated, however, some 30,000 hectares are loss each year due to the absence of irrigation system..

"We are losing 3 to 3.5 percent of irrigation land and we have to stop this," he stressed.

He said although the heavy hitters are mostly found in Luzon, irrigated areas in Mindanao like Lanao, South Cotabato, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat. Areas like Davao del Sur and Compostal Valley Province are also being considered.

The supplemental budget, he said, would allow a growth of four percent but the other major intervention is the seed support.

"Kailangan talaga ibigay otherwise magiging matamlay and given that in 2008 there would be an additional yield in rice produce of 900,000 metric tons," he said. (PIA XI) [top]

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