By Philippine News Agency
The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Tuesday said it is planning to boost promotion of Philippine agriculture products by having snapshots of them displayed in hallways of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to pique the interest of arriving tourists.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol announced this plan in a Senate hearing on the department’s 2017 proposed budget of P50.6 billion which is lower by 6.34 percent versus this year’s budget of P53.9 billion.
Piñol said he has already spoken with Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on the plan to enhance the department’s agriculture marketing service by utilizing the country’s main gateway.
He expressed hope that the “simple” idea of placing photos of products with contact details will help the lives of farmers and fisher folk.
“We don’t have to spend much to really promote Philippine products,” Piñol said.
In the same hearing, Piñol vowed to fast track payments of accounts of the department under its Agriculture Competitive Enhancement (ACEF).
This was after Senator Cynthia Villar lamented on how the ACEF has been not prioritized over the years.
“I am also critical about the way it was spent in the past. ACEF was misused, abused. It was not able to help farmers. I share your views,” Piñol told Villar.
The Senate last Jan. 18 passed on third and final reading a measure, Senate Bill 2951 extending the validity of the ACEF to help farmers and fisher folk improve their productivity and competitiveness.
The measure amends Republic Act 8178 which replaced quantitative import restrictions on agricultural products, except rice, with tariffs and first created the ACEF.
It extends the life of the ACEF, which was set to expire last December 2015, for another five years, up until December 2020.
Moreover, the measure will include the implementation of stricter guidelines to assure that only legitimate farmers and fisherfolks will have access to the funds.
Piñol meanwhile vowed to continue pushing for the department’s objectives to make food available and affordable, increase income of farmers and fisher folk and increase the resilience to climate change risks.