Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar guested in Manila Bulletin’s Hot Seat last Friday.

Agriculture Section Editor Yvette Tan moderated the interview, raising questions about timely and relevant topics such as Taal volcanic eruption and its effect on agriculture, African Swine Flu (ASF), DA technology, and millennials’ involvement in agriculture.

From yesterday’s report of P577.59 million worth of agricultural losses, the secretary revealed that the damage is now at P3 billion. 

When asked about ASF, Dar thoroughly explained that the problem can be contained, even eradicated, with proper cooperation from everyone, from importers to backyard hog raisers to local government to barangay residents . “This can properly be controlled, if everyone cooperates,” he said. He also added that, ASF is not just a community issue, that is why the department is urging Local Government Units to mobilize their people. 

He also talked about new technologies that the department may possibly use to approach various concerns. Dar emphasized the digitalization of agriculture and engagement in agribusiness.

The aging population of our farmers and lessening number of youth in the industry is one of the concerns of the department. To address this issue, DA is currently drafting their model on how to make millennials go into agriculture by providing various programs like educational grants and loans.

Readers and Manila Bulletin reporters from other regions also took part in this round table discussions, which was aired live via the official page of Manila Bulletin, by raising questions in the comment box which the secretary answered during the forum. 

Watch the full video here.