THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it will seek to upgrade its funding allocation for 2025 to P513.81 billion, nearly double the initial amount approved by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

“For the entire department, it’s almost like (this year’s amount). They’re saying, may increase lang yata kami ng less than P10 billion from this year (we have an increase of less than P10 billion from this year’s budget),” Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and Regulations Asis G. Perez said on Monday at a food security forum.

He added the DA hoping to lobby for more funding before the DBM submits its proposed budget to Congress.

The DA had proposed a budget of P513.81 billion for 2025. If approved, this would be more than double the DA allocation of P208.58 billion in 2024.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr. has said the extra funds will support the construction of irrigation and postharvest facilities.

Additionally, due to the lack of funding and private sector investment, the DA estimates that it would take about a century to complete major infrastructure items for agriculture like farm to market roads (FMR).

“For FMR alone it will take us practically, based on the initial estimates of the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Engineering, 100 years to complete all the necessary road systems,” Agriculture Assistant Secretary and Spokesman Arnel V. de Mesa said.

He added that aside from FMRs the country needs to increase investment in post-harvest facilities, logistics, and irrigation.

Improvements in logistics and supply chains “will help our smallhold farmers and fisherfolk,” Mr. De Mesa said.

The DA estimates that about P1.2 trillion is required to irrigate an additional 1.2 million hectares in order to boost rice production and reduce imports. It also projects a requirement of P93 billion for postharvest facilities to reduce rice and corn waste.

“There are limited resources available to finish these requirements for infrastructure,” he added.

The government constructed around 67,328.92 kilometers (km) of farm-to-market roads in 2023, more than half of its goal of building 131,410.66 km in six years, according to President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. — Adrian H. Halili