Press Releases

Agri output contraction in 2021 “wake up call for stronger investment in farmers, agriculture;” Salceda says agri sector needs more public, private investment in 2022, filing livestock industry reform.

January 28th, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) says that the contraction of agricultural output by 1.7% based on 2021 full-year GDP figures, is a “warning sign that even with a low output base, our agriculture sector is still struggling to grow.”

“We need to grow agricultural output by at least 2% to outpace our population growth and produce enough to support our country’s needs. If we can’t produce our staple foods at competitive prices, we should diversify to other high-value crops to meet that output objective,” Salceda said.

“The livestock sector is also what’s dragging our agri sector down. Full year livestock output declined by a massive 17%. That’s worse than anything we’ve seen in recent years,” Salceda added.

“The problems of the livestock sector are: one, lack of economies of scale. Most producers are backyard producers. Two, lack of cheap inputs. Feed costs in the Philippines remain among the highest in the region. Three, disjointed government support. You have several agencies for different livestock products, when you could consolidate that into a National Livestock, Poultry, and Dairy Program since the inputs, the problems, and the issues are very similar and require close coordination,” Salceda added

Livestock reform needed

In response to the release of agricultural output data for 2021 this week, Salceda announced that he is working with the Department of Agriculture to draft a reform for the livestock, poultry, and dairy sectors.

“The key components are as follows: First, we consolidate the agencies handling livestock into a single umbrella. Second, we allocate tariff revenues in imported corn towards the development of cheap domestic corn, and revenues from imported feeds towards the development of cheaper feed alternatives. Three, we create a national livestock, poultry, and dairy development plan to be reviewed every five or six years. Fourth, we organize support services and invest in related infrastructure, from farm transport to slaughterhouses,” Salceda said.

“I made a speech in February 2021 that essentially summarized the problem as a matter of ‘feeds, feeds, feeds.’ Inputs are expensive so output is lackluster,” Salceda explained.

“A complementary reform is also to set the parameters for public-private partnerships in the livestock, poultry, and dairy sector, to make the agriculture sector less susceptible to budget cuts,” Salceda added.

“Finally, we also need to reform the Bureau of Animal Industry’s biosafety and inspection processes to make the sector more resilient against biohazards such as the African Swine Fever. We are already working on that in the Committee on Ways and Means, during our discussions on the livestock import process,” Salceda said.

“The Department of Agriculture sent me briefing materials last week that we are studying now to craft an administration version of this reform. I am optimistic that we will be able to at least get the ball rolling, so that the next administration will have something to start with on Day One,” Salceda added. #

Other Press Releases
The AO will make food cheaper. Right now, it’s very difficult as an honest exporter to sell food to the Philippines.
Read More
Statement on the pronouncements against the Public Service Act amendments (RA 11659)
Read More
Statement on the February 2024 jobs report
Read More
Statement on the March 2024 inflation figures
Read More