By: Vanne Terrazola
Senator Cynthia Villar blocked on Friday the approval of the P10.3-billion proposed budget of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for next year as she questioned the agency’s move to allot only a small portion of the allocation to providing farm equipment for farmers.
Villar, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, pushed that the DAR allot more for the provision of farm machine and equipment. “The barriers ng farmers towards stability and competitiveness is mechanization so we have to mechanize both in the aspect of producing the product and in processing,” she said.
During the deliberation of the Senate finance subcommittee on its 2018 proposed budget, a dismayed Villar grilled DAR officials after learning that they will spend a chunk of the R10.3 billion for training farmers.
According to the senator, the DAR will only allot some 20 percent of the allocation for purchasing farm equipment.
“Mechanization should be very important…Hindi ang mga training lang…Kung hindi niyo bibigyan ng equipment paano magmemechanize?” she asked. “For example 300 million, 50 million ang equipment tapos 250 million ‘yun ang training that’s not normal.”