Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said agriculture will remain among the top concerns of the Duterte administration for the rest of its term to fulfill its goal of raising farm productivity and rural incomes, and avoid a repeat of the supply problems in rice and other major food items that led to the elevated inflation rate in the second half of 2018.
Dominguez, in a statement on Monday said that improving agricultural output and raising farmers’ incomes through education and the use of new farm technologies emerged as the No. 1 actionable recommendation of the private sector in the four “Sulong Pilipinas” events held last November, which shows that even the business community recognizes the importance of the farm sector in sustaining the economy’s high growth rate.
“We will focus on agriculture in the coming years. We know that the major reason for the inflation this year has been the logistics problems we have had in agriculture as well as production problems,” Dominguez said in response to a query by businessman George Barcelon during a recent business forum.
Barcelon is the chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which helped organize in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao last November the four regional workshops of Sulong Pilipinas, the annual consultative meeting with the private sector pioneered by the Duterte administration to gather the inputs and recommendations of the business sector and civil society on how to fulfill the government’s goal of high and inclusive growth.