Senate backs higher DA budget

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    The Department of Agriculture (DA) said the Senate has initially approved its proposed P85.58 billion budget, almost 27 percent higher from this year’s approved budget of P67.4 billion.

    The agency said P60.9 billion of the 2021 proposed budget is allocated to the Office of the Secretary, which includes funding for seven commodity banner programs, bureaus, central and regional field offices, as well as locally-funded and foreign-assisted projects broken down into P15.5 billion for rice; P3.12 billion for fisheries; P1.6 billion for high value crops; P1.5 billion for corn; P1.17 billion for livestock; P665 million for organic agriculture; and P23.9 million for halal goods.

    Meanwhile, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) has released an initial P347 million to help affected farmers and fisherfolk from recent weather disturbances with the balance in various stages of processing and set to be released within 10 days following the completion of required documents.

    PCIC said estimated damage reported by its clients in seven administrative regions has reached P1.5 billion.

    The recent typhoons hit around 121,000 insured farmers and fisherfolk whose standing rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock holdings, fisheries and other assets supporting their operations were affected.

    As of yesterday, November 26, total agriculture damage caused by Typhoon Ulysses alone has reached hit P4.18 billion.

    Agriculture damage caused by the string of typhoons and tropical depressions that recently hit the country — Nika, Ofel, Pepito, Quinta, Rolly, Siony, Tonyo and Ulysses — stands at P12.8 billion – Jed Macapagal