THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is considering allocating more sugar for the consumer market, Undersecretary Kristine Y. Evangelista said.

“We know our sugar demand is halved into household and industrial (use). What we are looking at right now is the supply at hand… We are looking to see if (more volume) needs to be reclassified for household consumption,” she told People’s Television Network (PTV).

Ms. Evangelista added that the department will consult the sugar industry to assess the current inventory and develop plans to make more sugar available to households.

The department will also use the consultations to determine an appropriate volume for sugar import if needed.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., meanwhile, has given orders to fast-track the needs of coconut farmers by raising the value-added content of their products, according to Ms. Evangelista.

“We are looking at shared facilities that our farmers need and (are discussing) scholarships for dependents of coconut farmers. We were directed to fast-track all the programs for the farmers,” she said.

The DA is looking into developing programs that will boost access to private financing institutions.

“We also discussed credit and financing, this is important for farmers. We are looking into how to make credit and loans more accessible,” she added.

Ms. Evangelista said that the department is also gearing up for the Masagana 150 and 200 programs, which are aimed at raising rice production.

“We are talking to different farmers organizations to start preparations for Masagana. It’s not only fertilizer, seed or mechanization, but there are also parallel efforts for social preparations. This is what is being prioritized by our National Rice Program,” she said.

“We are continuing to work… to increase yields and make sure agri-commodities reach our consumers at affordable prices,” she added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson