Agriculture is key
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The United Nations agriculture agency urged our country “to focus investments on agriculture and rural development for the Philippines to move forward and get back on its feet faster” than on the threats and disasters that jeopardize food security and future generations, as it pledged to continue helping to promote the sustainable management and competitive utilization of environment and natural resources through inclusive value chains.
The Food and Agriculture Organization said the growth of the Philippines’ agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors continues to be hampered by declining productivity and non-competitiveness, due to the limited implementation of technology, degradation of natural resources, and high vulnerability to climate change.
FAO and the Philippines launched last month the new FAO Country Programming Framework (CPF) 2018-2024, a six-year plan that will contribute to achieving greater food security and improved nutrition and further develop the country’s agricultural sector.
FAO also pledged to work closely with Philippine partners on promoting resilient agriculture, sustainable management of natural resources that support community livelihoods, and a common understanding of diversity and inequalities of areas affected by conflict to accelerate peace and development in Mindanao.
If the recent woes of Filipinos related to the tight supply and high prices of our staple food rice are any indication, the Philippine government will need all the help it can get when it comes to the strengthening of our agriculture sector and food security. The disaster fomented by the National Food Administration’s bungling of its job to ensure rice stocks are adequate and prices kept reasonable, the inability of the Department of Agriculture to increase the productivity of the agriculture sector, and the kneejerk reaction of government in endorsing the unfettered importation of rice as a solution to the incompetency of its managers, all point to a glaring inadequacy of government when it comes to agriculture on rural development.
The Philippine Development Plan and the FAO’s new CPF for the Philippines must return the focus and support of government on agriculture because, despite our lofty dreams of become an industrialized country, our country is still mainly agricultural and our officials cannot dream of industrialization while millions of Filipino lives still depend on a productive and efficient farming sector for survival.*