The Department of Agriculture (DA) has committed to simplifying the estimated 50 requirements needed by farmers, fisherfolk and cooperatives to receive assistance.
At the plenary budget deliberation of the proposed 2024 DA budget, AGRI Party-list Rep. Wilbert T. Lee revealed that an estimated P14.95 billion out of 19.63 billion pesos of the department’s 2023 budget for major post-harvest programs remain unutilized as of the 2nd quarter of this year.
“…We want the agency to spend the budget, help our people, and save lives,” Lee stated adding that legislators craft the budget with the objective of “not savings but service.”
According to the solon, one of the reasons funding for pre-harvest and post-harvest activities to cooperatives and agricultural workers is not disbursed is the failure of agricultural workers and cooperatives to comply with myriad, cumbersome requirements.
During the said budget deliberation, Lee lamented that Congress’ efforts to allocate billions of funding for crucial services for farmers and fishermen are all in vain if these remain unutilized.
To address this, Lee proposed to streamline requirements to facilitate the distribution of services and establishment of facilities that will help farmers and fisherfolk increase their production, which the DA committed to do.
“Dapat lang simplehan ang mga hinihingi ng DA para pabilisin ang pamamahagi nitong mga pre-harvest services and post-harvest facilities para naman mapakinabangan ito agad ng ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda na itinuturing natin na mga food security soldiers sa ating laban sa gutom at kahirapan,” Lee said.
(The requests of the DA should be simplified to speed up the distribution of these pre-harvest services and post-harvest facilities to fully benefit farmers and fishermen who we consider as “food security soldiers” in our fight against hunger and poverty.)
Lee pointed out that the government must be able to do the extra mile to find ways and means to deliver the needs of its people soonest.