Lawmakers at the House of Representatives yesterday sought to augment the funding of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for next year by an additional P5 billion to finance a mega farm project for farmer-beneficiaries.
During the House appropriations committee’s hearing on DAR’s proposed P8.85-billion budget for 2021, Magsasaka Party-list Rep. Argel Cabatbat suggested increasing the allocation for the mega farms’ proposal, where around 50 hectares of contiguous land will be developed into specialized crops production areas.
Cabatbat said the project would help bring back “economies of scale” that would greatly benefit farmers.
“Kaya naman sana mapondohan natin ito (I hope that we could provide funds for this). Ako, I would move to accommodate the increase in the budget of DAR in the amount of P5 billion para ma-accommodate ang pilot project na ito (so this project will be accommodated),” Cabatbat said.
Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte also proposed to augment DAR’s budget by P3 billion to P5 billion.
“Ako, sang-ayon ako diyan. ‘Yung concept nila sa mega farms is kino-consolidate ang mga farmland owned by the beneficiaries into 50 hectares para (I agree with that proposal. Their mega farms concept consolidates the farmlands owned by the beneficiaries into 50 hectares so that) we will evolve them from subsistence farming to commercial farming,” Villafuerte said.
“I will strongly push na mapondohan itong megafarming concept of at least P3 to P5 billion para matulungan ang mga farmer (I will strongly push to fund the megafarming concept of at P3 to P5 billion to help the farmers),” he added.
DAR’s appropriations for next year are 7 percent lower than this year’s budget amounting to P9.14 billion.*PNA