Press Release
October 18, 2012


During the budget deliberations for the Department of Agriculture (DA) , Senator Edgardo J. Angara recommended that the agency allot more of its P74.987 B proposed budget for 2013 towards agri-based research projects, to initiate the much-needed modernization of the sector.

This is necessary, he says, to increase the industry's productivity and guarantee food supply in the country.

"In recent years, global food supply and production has been going down. Several global studies have predicted that food will become more scarce in the next few years," said Angara, "Therefore we must focus on increasing our country's production and continuous supply of our staple crops."

"To do this we must boost our investment in research and development, particularly in the field of agriculture," explained Angara.

"R&D in agriculture pays the highest dividends in terms of profit and returns, not to mention its huge contribution to improving productivity. In the Philippines, however, investment in this sector has declined precipitously--something I believe we should rectify as soon as possible," stressed the former Agriculture secretary.

He also explained that developments through R&D would help lessen another major problem in Philippine agriculture -- high post-harvest losses. As much as 50 percent of fruit harvests and up to 15 percent of grain harvests are wasted due to inadequate machinery and equipment.

According to Angara, modern post-harvest facilities, improved logistics and infrastructure would greatly boost the efficiency of our supply chains and minimize losses.

Officials from the DA confirmed that their proposed budget for the coming fiscal year had a considerable allocation for research and development initiatives. The Philippine Rice Research Institute is requesting for P532.2M in 2013 for their R&D efforts, 56.12 percent higher than last year.

Angara, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, suggested that they farm out the agriculture research projects to the different SUCs (state universities and colleges) which have their own areas of specialization.

"Better technology equals higher yield. We must seize this opportunity to step up production from agriculture industry, not just to ensure food supply but also to move closer to our country's goal of self-sufficiency," said Angara.

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