The Department of Agriculture (DA) will implement nationwide the Duterte administration’s “Plant, Plant, Plant Program” or “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Laban sa Covid-19” program to benefit farmers, fishers and consumers.

“The ‘Plant, Plant, Plant Program’ will be implemented not only in Luzon, where the enhance community quarantine is being enforced, but also in Visayas and Mindanao,” said agriculture secretary William Dar.

“We are guided by the ‘Whole of Nation’ approach as advocated by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, to increase the country’s food adequacy level during the emergency situation resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic,” secretary Dar added.

“In the next two weeks, we will conduct via teleconference regional consultations and planning nationwide with our partners — local government units, and regional and provincial agriculture and fishery councils (RAFCs and PAFCs) — to update them on developments due to the Covid-19 national emergency situation and enhance the implementation of refocused DA programs, including the Plant, Plant, Plant Program,” the DA chief said.

“We thank the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) for approving our recommended P31-billion supplemental budget to fund the ‘Plant, Plant, Plant Program’ that seeks to increase national agri-fishery output through intensified use of quality seeds, appropriate inputs, modern technologies to increase levels of productivity across all commodities, and thus ensure food productivity, availability, accessibility and affordability amidst the threat of Covid-19 pandemic,” said secretary Dar.

“Of the P31-billion additional budget, we will vigorously pursue a P8.5-billion ‘Rice Resiliency Project’ aimed at producing more rice to increase our sufficiency level from the present 87 percent to 93 percent,” said secretary Dar.

“We will boost palay production to reach 22.12 million metric tons by end of December 2020, equivalent to 13.51 MMT of rice or 93% of the country’s total demand at 14.46 MMT,” he added.

“Right after the current dry season, we will urge farmers to plant more areas by providing them quality seeds, fertilizers, and appropriate technical assistance,” said secretary Dar.

The other projects that will be funded under the ‘Plant, Plant, Plant Program’ are:

• Additional palay procurement fund of the National Food Authority;

• Expanded SURE Aid and recovery project;

• Expanded agriculture insurance project;

• Social amelioration for farmers and farm workers;

• Upscaling of KADIWA ni Ani at Kita direct marketing program;

• Integrated livestock and corn resiliency project;

• Expanded small ruminants and poultry project;

• Coconut-based diversification project;

• Fisheries resiliency project;

• Revitalized urban agriculture and gulayan project;

• Corn for food project; and

• Strategic communications project.

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