THE government is now pushing for the construction of more dams nationwide and the modernization of the local fishing industry as part of its proposed comprehensive initiatives to boost local food production.
These were discussed during the meeting of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. with Department of Agriculture (DA) officials on Tuesday for their proposed National Food Security Convergence Program.
“The DA presented to President Marcos interventions to ensure enough supply of corn, pork, chicken, fish and sugar and, of course, rice,” Presidential press briefer Daphne Oseña-Paez said in a news conference in Malacañang.
“The meetings also tackled wealth production in agriculture by strategically implementing convergence initiatives,” she added.
More dam projects
To boost farmer earnings, NIA chief Eduardo G. Guillen said they recommended the expansion of irrigation services with the construction of additional dam projects.
“Well, the ideal, as I said a while ago, the ideal [situation], for me, is for the government to implement around P200 billion worth of dam projects to change the agriculture landscape,” Guillen said.
The dams planned for construction are also expected to help power production and flood control.
NIA said it has submitted the list of proposed dam projects to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for consideration.
Guillen said they are now also considering organizing irrigators into cooperative associations per town to boost their efficiency.
Existing irrigators’ associations have irrigated around 1.5 million hectares of land nationwide, he said.
Modern fishery sector
Also part of government’s food security measures is providing for the necessary infrastructure and facilities for the fishing sector.
“We have to put the facilities in place. So that is what we will do to increase the production of the fish,” Marcos told agriculture officials.
Among the DA interventions to boost the efficiency of the fishing sector is the rehabilitation and modernization of fish port complexes, as well as the implementation of the agricultural and fishery machinery and equipment service center.
Marcos, also concurrent DA secretary, said he is eyeing the assistance of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Land Bank of the Philippines and the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) to finance the infrastructure.
The President’s meeting with agriculture officials comes after the inflation rate reached 8.7 percent last month.
Economic managers attributed the high inflation to rise in energy and food prices.