Agri chief lauds SMC’s continuing support to farmers, agri sector

Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar addresses the public's concern for food supply due to the scheduled community quarantine in Metro Manila. (Photo was taken by Mark Balmores)

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar commends San Miguel Corporation (SMC) for helping the Duterte administration secure needed food supply and provide ready market for farmers’ produce ensuring them of steady incomes, in the face of threats posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We appreciate the continued strong support of SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang, who recently said will tap more farmers for the production of rice, corn, cassava, coconut oil, pork, and chicken, among others,” said Secretary Dar.

“We are pleased that he is encouraging more farmers to plant, providing them a ready market and buying their products at guaranteed prices,” the DA chief added.

Early this week, secretary Dar issued a call on multinational companies, agri-fishery industry stakeholders, and agricultural state universities and colleges to join the government’s “Plant, Plant, Plant Program” by adopting a city or town to engage in urban agriculture and poultry raising that could immediately produce results in terms of additional food supply amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Mr. Ang did not only heed our call but even increased the ante, and we are more than willing to partner with SMC as we share a similar vision of a food-secured Philippines with prosperous farmers and fisherfolk,” he added.

“Together, we can pursue several projects under our flagship Plant, Plant, Plant Program,” said secretary Dar.

Some of the projects involve:

• Increasing rice production to attain a sufficiency level from the current 87 percent to 93 percent;
• Integrated livestock and corn resiliency project;
• Corn for food project;
• Expanded small ruminants and poultry project;
• Coconut-based diversification project;
• Fisheries resiliency project;
• Revitalized urban agriculture and gulayan project; and
• Upscaling KADIWA ni Ani at Kita direct marketing program.

“Clearly, we have to pursue farm consolidation, adopt modern technologies, use quality seeds and inputs, pursue mechanization, and employ efficient postharvest, processing and packaging systems to produce main staples and other food and commercial crops for our countrymen and meet the demand not only of SMC, but other agribusiness conglomerates,” secretary Dar concluded.

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