The Department of Agriculture (DA) will make a last ditch effort to augment its proposed budget for next year.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the department will submit a list of programs for 2022 that will require an additional P42 billion, on top of the only P91 billion recommended by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Agriculture Secretary William Dar

“The Congress asked us a lot of questions about our budget. In summary, they understood we need a bigger budget for 2022,” Dar said.

“And while we are allocated only P91 billion from the high of P231 billion that we proposed, we have strong support in the House and said they will work on our additional budget,” he added.

A budget of P91 billion is only slightly higher than the P71 billion the agency received this year.

According to Dar, the DBM-approved budget may not be enough to boost the local agriculture output, which has been on a decline for the past three quarters.

“We are still hoping that the budget will increase in a big way,” Dar said in August. “We need a higher budget to increase our output”.

Earlier, the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI) indicated that it may be the DA’s fault why the farm sector will receive a low budget next year.

To recall, PCAFI requested Dar to explain the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the agency’s financial and operational highlights last year.

The group believes that the COA findings will compromise the efforts of both the private sector and the government to urge Congress to give the DA a higher budget for 2022.

In a formal letter to Dar, PCAFI asked the DA chief to explain the findings of COA showing an estimated P46.681 billion in misused funds that farmers were supposed to receive amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several items have been flagged by COA in the audit, including the P4.55 billion “unobligated amount” due to delays in procurement process and discontinuance of project implementation.

The other two items were the P9.89 billion, which was 16.6 percent of DA’s total 2020 budget, being returned due to delay in delivery of goods, delayed submission of disbursement vouchers for payment and the P17.542 billion “non-liquidated” fund.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/09/29/da-still-hopeful-for-higher-budget-next-year/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=da-still-hopeful-for-higher-budget-next-year)