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Filipinos are being exhorted to put politics aside and promote agriculture under the BBM.

MANILA– In the next months, under President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s administration, agricultural stability would require coordinated action from all stakeholders in the country, according to a Department of Agriculture (DA) official.

Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes stated in a virtual press conference that the global food crisis requires Filipinos to take comprehensive action to ensure food security, encouraging the public to put politics aside.

“Let us work together to ensure that all Filipinos have access to safe, cheap, and nutritious food at all times,” Reyes added. “Walang kulay, walang partido, lahat tayo Pilipino (no [political] colors, no parties, we are all Filipinos).”

Agriculture Secretary William Dar also encouraged farmers and the general public to use contemporary technologies to boost food production.

“Let us begin preparing and acting, planting and nurturing… Let’s make sure that in whatever we do today, we use the best of technology, new technologies, and innovation… “We have to survive, and in order to survive, lahat po ng Pilipino, magbanat-buto (all Filipinos must work),” he explained.

Apart from “unity,” Dar argued that “appropriate financial support” should be addressed to mitigate the consequences of global inflation, citing exporting countries’ restrictions on a variety of food supplies and production inputs.

He praised Bangladesh’s strategic strategy, which enabled the country to achieve 100 percent food self-sufficiency without relying on global market commerce.

“Just comparing our budget to their budget, their budget is three times ours,” he added. “We have PHP85.5 billion, they have more than PHP200 billion, so that shows how vital it is to have sufficient fiscal assistance in agriculture.”

Fertilization strategy that is balanced

The DA stated that they are working closely with other countries to secure fertilizer supply, including China, Russia, Canada, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Iran.

“We’re speeding up this conversation so that government-to-government procurement becomes the way forward,” Dar said.

However, he stressed the importance of employing a “balanced fertilization plan,” which includes the use of organic fertilizers and biostimulants.

Dar explained that the use of Urea nano fertilizer, or nanoscale particles, is much less expensive than a 50-kilogram bag of regular Urea fertilizer.

“If you use only three bottles, each bottle costs PHP1,250 to PHP1,350, so if you use three bottles of that, you save 50%,” he remarked, referring to the nearly 600-ml bottle size.

Despite growing concerns about the effects of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, the Ukraine-Russia conflict, global crude price hikes, African Swine Fever (ASF), and other constraints, the DA said it is ready to hand over its transition reports to the next administration.

This includes a proposed PHP250 billion yearly budget for their 10-year strategic National Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization and Industrialization Plan.

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