Modernizing PH agri sector requires a lot of efforts
Former Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that in order to modernize Philippine agriculture sector, the government must address a lot of issues such as improving productivity while increasing investments in technology, among others.
“So what must be done? During the (ASEAN Agriculture) summit, the answer that came out for us is to accelerate modernization and industrialization of the country’s agriculture sector anchored on an entrepreneurial ecosystem, which should also involve actively and systematically most if not all smallholder farmers in the Philippines,” Dar said.
According to him, the issues that are worthwhile addressing as the country modernizes and industrializes the agriculture sector should include increasing level of productivity right at the farms, which could be addressed by investing heavily or doing massive technology transfer, mentoring and training of farmers for adoption and commercialization, and even financial literary or how to handle money wisely.
Low productivity at the farm level can also be addressed through consolidation or forming blocs or clusters of production to achieve economies of scale.
“When small parcels of farmlands are consolidated, farmers can organize themselves into producers organization and or cooperatives that can acquire farm machineries and access credit. In this regard, it is also important for government institutions to make affordable credit accessible to cooperatives and smallholder farmers, and to offer schemes so they can acquire farm machines, either through affordable credit or a reasonable level of subsidy,” Dar said.
Farmer cooperatives can also be trained to become providers of mechanized farm services like land preparation, planting and harvesting, both for their members and non-members.