AGRICULTURE Secretary William D. Dar said the industry will require a budget of P250 billion in 2023 if the Philippines is to develop crops that make it less vulnerable to volatile commodity prices.

“We need that if we want this country to… start building the commodity industries that we have (a comparative advantage) and start transforming those commodity industries that aren’t as competitive, but should be over time,” Mr. Dar said in a virtual briefing.

The department’s 2022 budget is P85.5 billion.

Mr. Dar said the Russia-Ukraine war has disrupted the global supply chain for food, sending commodity prices upward.

“The crisis situation calls for much more support in terms of elevating local food production… there is not a lot of fertilizer, feed, and corn supply. All over the world everyone is affected, especially those who import these supplies,” Mr. Dar said.

“Let’s have the feed millers adapt to the situation. If at the end of the day, they are unable to buy components for feed, they have to source locally available raw materials,” he added.

Mr. Dar said local government units can do their part by maintaining stocks of rice, engaging in milling and storage, and providing their constituents with reasonably-priced quality rice.

“We will enjoin the top 20 rice-producing provinces to (help) increase the government’s rice stocks to 30 days, from the current eight to nine days’ supply,” Mr. Dar said separately in a statement. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson