In collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce, Secretary William Dar from the Department of Agriculture was the key panelist speaker for the webinar entitled Food Manufacturing and the Private Sector’s Role.
Sec. Dar gave a briefing on the country’s current supply-demand situation for agricultural and aquaculture products. Rice and corn products generally are stable and have sufficient supply to last several months.
Fisheries, pork and vegetables on the other hand, may still need to improve production capacity but the best case scenario shows that at least a month’s supply is in place. Chicken supply has a wide margin over demand and supplies could last for up to a year’s worth.
Garlic and onions are quite areas of concern with restricted supply and the country may need to resort to importing these goods from Vietnam to ensure satisfying the demand.
The department’s current strategies include Farm Consolidation with continuous dialogue with local producers, Modernization of equipment, Industrialization and Export Promotion through maximizing economic zones, and Infrastructure Development in partnership mostly with the private sector for financing and support.
The expected results would be as follows:
- Systems of production and logistical concerns are to be improved greatly.
- Products and goods would yield a higher competitive quality with sufficient supply.
- Empowered people that will increase the aggregate value chain while providing jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.
- Institutions that have a stronger partnership; especially between government, corporate, universities and other stakeholders.
- An Environment with increased resilience and one that has a well-balanced ecosystem.
Sec. Dar also shared the department’s other responses in the agricultural sector in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic. MSMEs can avail of loans of upto Php 10M with 0% interest payable in 5 years. Marginalized Small Farmers and Fisheries can also loan upt Php 25k per household with 0% interest payable in 10 years too. The DA also has efforts to entice young agripreneurs with their start-up financing, training and development through its KAYA program.
While the country continues to battle the health crises, Sec. Dar assures the attendees that the department has already identified key areas to ensure growth and recovery plan within the agricultural sector of the country. He has also expressed his encouragement to invest in the department’s initiative strategies and reiterated especially for developing better infrastructures. He has also recognized the concerns of the private sectors and will aid in pushing for legislative support as well for this particular sector.