Press Release
July 20, 2016

Villar files bill mandating LGUs to set aside funds for agriculture

Sen. Cynthia Villar filed a bill allocating 10% of local government units' annual development fund for the implementation of programs for agriculture and fisheries advancement.

The bill was among the first ten bills filed by Villar to push her legislative agenda in instituting reforms in the agriculture sector.

"This bill aims to make programs for the benefit of farmers and fisherfolks a priority among local government units, as well as continuity of agricultural programs. It will limit the usual practice of leaders to concentrate more on activities that will provide mileage for their political career," Villar said.

Senate Bill 318 or the Local Government Agriculture Development Act of 2016 seeks to amend Sections 17, 106, 107, 110, 287, 443, 454, 482 (a), and 511(a) of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code.

Under the bill, each local government unit shall appropriate in its annual budget no less than 20% of its annual internal revenue allotment for development projects. Provided that 10% of the amount shall be used for the implementation of programs, projects, activities and services for agriculture and/or fisheries development.

It also makes mandatory the appointment of city or municipal agriculturist in areas where livelihood is at least 50% in agriculture and/or fisheries.

The bill mandates the drafting of Local Agriculture Development Programs which focus on the areas identified as factors contributing to the competitiveness of the agriculture industry. These include the availability and production of seeds, livestock, fingerlings and other farm inputs, mechanization and post-harvest equipment, irrigation system access and maintenance, marketing of products, credit, guarantee, and agriculture insurance, knowledge of better farming systems, and knowledge of organic farming, among others.

Villar noted that agriculture's importance to the economy has dwindled over the years to only 11.1% in 2012 from 29.7% in 1946.

"If agriculture can grow at 3 to 4%, the average for the world, poverty in the country would substantially be reduced. The growth in the Philippine agricultural sector was only 1.7% yearly for the last five years. At the moment, there is slow and inefficient delivery of government support to the agriculture sector, and very limited impact of such support," Villar stressed.

Historical records show that 70-80% of LGU's annual appropriations go to administrative and recurrent expenditures. The remaining 20% is competitively shared by capital expenditure, economic investments, human resource development and to research development.

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