The Department of Agriculture (DA) has formed three teams within the department to oversee the undertaking of infrastructure projects that would boost food production nationwide.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said the teams would prepare and finalize the feasibility studies of the priority infrastructure projects of the department.

Laurel designated Agriculture Undersecretary for special concerns and for official development assistance Jerome Oliveros as the chairperson across all three project-preparation teams.

The teams would draft the framework and plans for the proposed post-harvest program for rice and corn, the solar-powered cold storages and proposed solar-powered irrigation systems.

Agriculture Undersecretary for operations Roger Navarro will co-chair the team that will prepare the feasibility study on the post-harvest program for rice and corn, while Undersecretary for high value crops Cheryl Marie Natividad-Caballero will be the co-chair of the team on the proposed solar-powered irrigation system project.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Arnel de Mesa will be the vice chairman of the team that will prepare the solar-powered cold storage project.

'The teams will have to ensure the project documents are compliant with the requirements of the DA-wide project clearing house system and the National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee,' Laurel said.

Laurel has instructed the solar-powered irrigation project team to ensure that the proposed sites are consistent with the database of the National Irrigation Administration and with Bureau of Soil and Water Management irrigation masterplan.

Earlier this year, Laurel estimated that the government needs to spend about P93 billion to build the necessary post-harvest facilities for rice and corn to minimize wastage.

Meanwhile, at least P1 billion is needed to build necessary cold storages for vegetables, Laurel added.

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