DA introduces paradigm shifts at Vegetable Congress in Albay

LEGAZPI CITY--Saying change must transpire to get Philippine agriculture moving, Secretary William Dar of the Department of Agriculture (DA) espoused eight paradigm shifts in his approach to managing the country’s farming.

The shifts, which he introduced during the 18th National Vegetable Congress held in Albay last October 8, were: (1) modernization of agriculture; (2) industrialization of agriculture; (3) promotion of exports; (4) farm consolidation;  (5) infrastructure development; (6)higher budget and investments for agriculture; (7) legislative support; and (8) roadmap development.

Dar said farmers need to mechanize to become more competitive locally and globally.

He said the industrialization of agriculture would lead to establishing an enhanced export development plan for the country’s agricultural products.

On the other hand, the consolidation of small-and-medium-size farms through an achievable business and partnership strategies would empower the farmers and fisherfolks, he added.

Dar said DA’s partnering with local government units to address hunger and poverty will result in improvement of quality of life of farmers and fisherfolks.

As to infrastructure development, Dar said it was critical to ensure agricultural development and security.

He also pitched for a higher budget and investment in agriculture along with the legislative support to institutionalize its programs and projects.

Lastly, Dar was looking forward to a roadmap development that would boost the country’s economy through agriculture.

Dar said these paradigms would be realized through the proper utilization of the P10-billion rice competitiveness enhancement program a year, P5 billion of which was allotted for the mechanization while another P3 billion was intended for the seed distribution.

Some P1 billion was also set aside for additional capital of farmers and skills development. About two-thirds of the country’s population was directly involved in agriculture.

Dar also drummed up public support to “Masaganang Ani, Mataas na Kita,”  the department’s crop diversification program to improve farmers’ income by planting vegetables.

Farmers need to embrace and learn the new technologies to develop farming through intercropping methods, he added. (PIA-5)