July 19, 2022
Philippine president directs agriculture department to develop farm-to-market masterplan
Philippine President Bongbong Marcos has directed the country's Department of Agriculture (DA) to come up with a farm-to-market road (FMR) masterplan that would identify locations where they are most needed, where to source funding for the project, and how long it would take to complete.
Marcos, who is also the concurrent Agriculture Secretary, said the construction of farm-to-market roads in key areas is part of the government's bid to promote food security and empower rural communities.
He said the construction of more FMRs will make food mobilisation across the country more efficient as it would also improve the delivery of food products to the Food Terminal Incorporated (FTI), which would then support the distribution of agricultural products, especially to vulnerable sectors of the community.
"If they identify the areas where it should be open, we will go to Public Works. And also, what are the areas that we really want to open, that really need the FMR? We will do that first," he said.
He added that locations with active agricultural production should be prioritised to address supply chain concerns.
Marcos said the masterplan should include regional maps detailing the exact locations of the proposed farm-to-market roads, the funding source and payment terms and the time frame for project completion. Road projects and other future agricultural infrastructure should also be "climate-change resistant," which means they should not be prone to landslides and other calamities.
Additionally, Marcos wants the DA and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to take charge of the implementation of government-funded FMR projects, while official development assistance-funded (ODA) projects should be constructed in priority areas identified by the government.
The president wants the masterplan to be studied thoroughly as it would also be presented to economic managers. He ordered the acceleration of the implementation of programmes, activities and projects (PAPs) for rice, corn, fisheries, vegetable, livestock and poultry production to address supply needs.
Marcos highlighted the government is in the process of streamlining the functions of DA "as part of efforts to bring a tighter focus on its mandate.
- Malaya Business Insight