Agriculture should get 10% of IRA

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    The Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI) said at least 10 percent of the internal revenue allotment (IRA) of local government units (LGU) should be allocated for food security and agriculture to ensure rural development once national budget is devolved locally under President Duterte’s proposed executive order (EO).

    The EO will transfer some executive functions to LGUs by 2022 which will increase their IRA.

    Danilo Fausto, PCAFI president, said in an online briefing last week agriculture contributes 9 to 10 percent to the gross domestic product but “gets barely 2 percent of the total national budget.”

    Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri in the same event said the proposed EO can help ensure farmers’ welfare while improving agricultural production.

    Zubiri expressed support to PCAFI’s proposal to legislate agriculture policies although he did not give details.

    He said he is pushing for an amendment to the Cabotage Law in order to allow entry of international players in the domestic shipping industry as “it is cheaper to ship goods from New Delhi to the Philippines than to ship this from Bukidnon to Manila.”

    The lawmaker said shipping restriction could be one of the reasons why agricultural products such as pork and poultry products in Mindanao cannot be easily shipped to bigger markets like Metro Manila.