AGRICULTURE Secretary William D. Dar made his pitch for the role of farming in reviving the economy, claiming that an “agriculture-driven” approach will help the Philippines rebound more strongly from the pandemic.

In a statement Tuesday, Mr. Dar said: “For us to rise stronger from this COVID-19 crisis, the government must encourage the development of an agriculture-driven economy.”

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is proposing a P66-billion budget to fund its so-called Plant, Plant, Plant program, which it is positioning as a stimulus measure. The program hopes to expand the food supply, improve farm logistics, and stabilize food prices.

The proposal is currently being discussed in Congress as a component of the proposed Philippine Economic Stimulus Act.

“We believe that economic growth in agriculture is more effective at reducing poverty and food insecurity than growth in other sectors. Investment in agriculture can help revive food production and create jobs, following a crisis, and enable rural communities to recover,” Mr. Dar said.

Mr. Dar also called for more investments and partnerships in agriculture with the private sector and local government units.

The DA has so far entered partnerships with San Miguel Corp., AgriNurture, Inc., Shell Philippines, and other agribusiness firms.

“With the help of the private sector and local government units, we hope to improve our productivity and food supply chain through farm consolidation and clustering, provision of accessible financing, stronger linkages between production and marketing, and establishment of more postharvest and processing facilities,” Mr. Dar said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave