AGRICULTURE in the three Visayas regions is projected to maintain this year the growth it has achieved in 2020 as the pandemic compounds the demand for farm products.
Three regional heads of the Department of Agriculture (DA) shared an optimistic view on the prospects for the agriculture sector this year.
• Engr. Remelyn Recoter, DA Region 6 executive director, said that crucial to the sector’s sustained growth is the funding support from the national government to Filipino farmers and fisherfolk.
• Atty. Salvador Diputado, DA Region 7 executive director, attributed the sector’s growth to the increased involvement of local government units (LGUs) in agriculture-related initiatives.
• Angel Enriquez, DA Region regional executive director of DA in Region 8, said the government’s increased investment into the agriculture sector has contributed to its growth performance.
“We want to sustain our gains that we have posted in 2020,” Recoter said.
The three DA officials were guests in a recent episode of Mugstoria Ta, an online conversation hosted by Assistant Secretary Jonji Gonzales of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas.
• In Region 6, there was an 8.7 percent increase in palay production in 2020 when compared to that of 2019.
• The rice and corn production in Region 8 reached 96 percent and 94 percent, respectively, of the target set for the year 2020.
Recoter said that there is a need to “reboot” the agriculture sector to adapt to the changing times brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the height of the lockdowns last year, demand for farm products increased as more people are forced to stay at home and cook their meals and generate their produce.
• DA’s “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita” program has helped bring farm produce to the consuming public despite the strict community quarantine measures last year.
• In 2020, DA provided farm inputs and equipment to farmers. Its collaboration with LGUs became important in identifying the needs of the farmers in different localities.
• Enriquez said they hope to launch more high-value commodities from Eastern Visayas, such as jackfruit, abaca, and coconut. (SunStar Cebu/With PR)