MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is eyeing a P900-million equipment loan from the Japanese government for the modernization of the sector to reduce post-harvest losses and ensure increased productivity.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the DA and the Japan International Cooperation Agency have created a joint technical working group that would work on the details of the Philippine Agricultural Modernization Program.
“We are looking into possible loan availment from the Japanese government to modernize Philippine agriculture. We are drafting the parameters and details that would involve mechanization, improvement of technology and logistics,” Piñol said.
The financial assistance would allow the DA to procure farm equipment and post harvest facilities to ensure efficient farming and reduce losses.
“They said they can still increase the loan depending on the request of the Philippines. But what I prefer is equipment, not money to avoid issues on possible commissions, etc,” Piñol said.
Piñol targets to have a memorandum of understanding, which would include the list and number of equipment and the terms and conditions of the program, signed by President Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by January.
Abe is set for an official visit to the Philippines on the third week of January.
“We are fast tracking the modernization program because we want to present the draft to Prime Minister Abe when he arrives,” he said.