Department of Agriculture wants buy-local incentives for food industry

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Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol -- PHILSTAR

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is pushing for a bill that will provide incentives to food manufacturers using domestic produce, in order to drive agricultural growth.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said he has raised the matter with the Philippines Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture (PPSA), a multi-stakeholder partnership platform that aims to engage smallholder.

“Among the topics discussed was the idea of asking Congress or Senate to pass legislation that would offer incentives to Philippine processing manufacturing companies which will use local agricultural products,” Mr. Piñol told reporters in Quezon City on Wednesday.

“PPSA kanina will look into best practices in countries… and then adopt them.”

Mr. Piñol said he will wait for the PPSA’s position paper and ask the DA’s legal department to draft the bill which he hopes to be completed “before the end of the year”

“We need to patronize our own produce because it’s a very critical period for our agriculture. We are nearing self-sufficiency in corn and rice. But the effort to produce more will be stunted if the market is not be able to absorb the additional output,” Mr. Piñol said.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez has said there is a need to encourage manufacturers to maximize the use of domestic produce “as an appeal to their patriotism and a form of support for an inclusive business model that benefits the under-privileged farmers, especially if all things are equal or in cases where there is a minimal difference in price.” — Janina C. Lim