THE House of Representatives committee vice chairman on appropriations Rep Manuel Sagarbarria, confirmed the approval on Monday, September 7, the P8.851-billion proposed budget for the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for 2021.
Sagarbarria said the budget could still be changed, however, during deliberations in the plenary. He said an additional allocation of P5 billion for DAR, which will finance a mega farms project.
According to Sagarbarria as vice chair on appropriations, Agrarian Reform Undersecretary for finance Junjun Malsi, earlier pushed for the agency to initially ask for P32.966 billion funding for 2021, but was only given P8.85 billion, which is 7.0 percent lower than the department’s appropriations under the current 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The mega farming initiative of DAR is part of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-aga program which was launched to decongest Metro Manila amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
DAR Undersecretary for field operations David Erro said support services for the government’s farmer beneficiaries will be infused into these mega farms.
“For example, in one area in Central Luzon, we will be targeting around 50 hectares, you will infuse all the support services into that 50-hectare land. They can develop the rice production in that area by infusing high technology,” Erro explained.
Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Bernie Cruz explained that the mega farms project would allow farmer beneficiaries to earn more profit with commercialized farming.