What went wrong with PH agri
For a country with rich soils and favorable weather, why does the Philippines fall behind its neighboring Asean countries in terms of agri growth? What went wrong?
Peter Wallace, in his column for Philippine Inquirer, cited four key aspects on ‘where the failures lie’, on the declining condition of the country’s agricultural sector, as proved by key statistics on rice yield and income per hectare.
He said that water is one of the primary issues.
“High on the list is water or the lack of water where it’s needed. Small dams and embankments, and canals connecting to larger dams, are needed.
Collect the water when there’s too much of it (during La Niña) so we can provide enough for our farms when there’s none (El Niño)” he said.
He also added that the government should decide on who pays for the irrigation projects, as long as when subsidies are made, they are backed with strong justification.
Apart from water, he also cites seed as an issue.
“I’m a firm believer in seeds modified to improve yield and to be resistant to diseases and bugs. If some people want “natural” food, fine; then let’s have boutique farms to provide them with what they want, at whatever cost.” Wallace said, adding that accessible and affordable food must be a priority for majority of Filipinos.
Corruption in the agricultural sector was also mentioned, citing middlemen who try to scam farmers out of their hard earned money.
Lastly, convenient transportation was cited, including farm-to-market roads, which are important to transporting farm products to the market, unbruised and fresh.
“Let’s have smooth, paved roads to link our farms to the markets”, he said.
Wallace expressed high hopes for the new administration, in doing concrete actions for the improvement of Philippine agriculture.