The 2024 National Expenditure Program (NEP) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) amounting to P167.5 billion (B), which is six percent higher than its 2023 funds under the General Appropriations Act (GAA), has been approved by the House of Representatives on September 25, 2023.
In line with the directives of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to boost the country’s local agricultural production for food security and economic growth, the DA’s 2024 NEP focuses on investments that lower production costs, improve the value chains, and promote consolidation and modernization.
The DA will allocate P30.869B for the National Rice Program, P6.09 Bfor the National Fisheries Program, and P5.28B for the National Corn Program. The National Livestock Program, National High Value Crops Development Program, National Organic Agriculture Program, National Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture Program, and the Halal Food Industry Development Program will each receive P4.35B, P1.94B, P921 million (M), P436M, and P19M, respectively.
Isabela Representative and DA budget sponsor Antonio “Tonypet” Albano said the proposed budget “is a clear articulation of the administration’s agenda for agricultural development that is the very foundation of our nation’s sustained growth in the years ahead.”
He added that with the said budget, the DA shall pursue the reduction of production costs, enhance capabilities for local production, provide essential support services from farm inputs to requisite farm machinery and infrastructure, and promote farm and fisheries modernization.
The DA NEP’s salient features include the allocation of P9.80B for the hybrid rice seed assistance, P9.55B for fertilizer assistance, P2.750B for agri credit programs, P2.49B for yellow corn seeds and fertilizers, and P2.20B for hog repopulation and recovery.
Moreover, P1B will be allotted for Quick Response Fund, P492.7M for the Kadiwa Program, P374M for onion cold storage, P236.6M for aquaculture and mariculture, P230M for legislated hatcheries, P149.31M for durian expansion, and P30.91M for community gardens.
The DA Family led by Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban extended its gratitude to the House of Representatives for approving the proposed DA budget for 2024.
Undersecretary Panganiban also thanked the employees and members of the DA family for their hard work and dedication in the budget preparation and defense.
The Congress also approved on second reading House Bill 9284, as amended, which would expand Republic Act 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016. It seeks to declare as economic sabotage large-scale smuggling, hoarding, profiteering, cartelizing, and other acts of market abuse of agri-fishery commodities and tobacco.### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID; Photo credit: Media Affairs, House of Representatives of the Philippines)