NEDA assures initiatives to keep agri sector at pace with industry, services sector

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – Despite the seemingly slow progress in Central Luzon’s agriculture sector, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) assures the public that the government is doing its best for the said sector to catch up with other sectors, particularly manufacturing.

“Despite the marginal economic growth in the agriculture sector, we still consider this as a sunshine industry as agriculture sector in Central Luzon is one of the biggest contributors to the overall agriculture of the country,” NEDA 3 Regional Director Severino Santos said.

Based on the latest regional gross domestic product (GRDP) report, agriculture is seen to lag behind in terms of growth at 0.1%, compared to other sectors which posted double-digit growth rates.

However, Santos explained that this does not mean that we fail in achieving our targets; rather, it is just that other industries accelerate faster than agriculture.

In addition, he explained that there are also external factors that affect this growth rate, including climate change and typhoons.

With this, the regional director said that for agriculture to catch up with the other sectors, the government has laid down various programs and projects that will further boost agricultural growth in the region.

Among this, he said that in Nueva Ecija alone, there are 19 agri-research centers that conduct studies on how we can better produce agriculture yields.

“The government has also invested in modern technologies that will boost our output. Before, our farmers are able to yield only about 100-150 cavans of palays per hectare. With the use of combined harvester, they now yield double, with up to 300 cavans per hectare at most. This does not only mean more yield, but also additional income for the farmers,” he explained.

Aside from this, provision of modern farm machineries and equipment to the farmers result in reduction of post-harvest losses from 20 percent to only around 8-10 percent.

“The government is also investing in infrastructure development to protect the farmlands from flooding and other types of calamities,” he said.

Santos also shared that the government is focusing on hybrid technologies to produce crops that can withstand extreme weather conditions.

For the aquaculture industry, the government is continuously distributing boats and fingerlings to fisherfolks; as well as aid them in marketing their products.

“With these initiatives, we are optimistic that the agriculture sector will be able to at least catch up with the other sectors in the succeeding years. Lest assured that we at the government are working hard to maintain food sufficiency and achieving our targets for more growth and development in all sectors towards a more inclusive growth for all,” the director concluded. –Marie Joy L. Simpao