Senate to look into Philippine’s agricultural competitiveness

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MANILA, Philippines — The Senate committee on agriculture and foods is set to conduct an inquiry into the country’s agricultural competitiveness to occur up with governing administration interventions to improve farmers’ cash flow when ensuring food security.

The inquiry was named by Sen. Francis Escudero in his Senate Resolution 55, where by he cited the have to have to evaluate the recent point out of the agriculture sector, which employs 23.9 % of the Filipino workforce or about 10.3 million folks.

He mentioned hearings will assistance align legislation and guidelines in buy to “stabilize and make improvements to incomes of farmers and fisherfolk, and to make meals economical and obtainable to the inadequate and marginalized sectors,” as well to stay clear of “diverging, if not competing, community coverage directions.”

“Ensuring agricultural competitiveness would involve a measured deliberation geared towards analyzing the most powerful authorities intervention and the most effective allocation of public resources to reach the targets of authorities,” Escudero reported.

He claimed a variety of agriculture-relevant regulations require to be reviewed, this kind of as Republic Act 8178 (Agricultural Tariffication Act) as amended by RA 10848, RA 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Act and RA 11598 or the Money Aid for Filipino Farmers Act, with the finish look at of identifying if these actions are seriously effective to the field and its workers.

The senator reported previous administrations have responded to differing priorities in agriculture by adopting a policy of qualified financial infusion to the sector to strengthen productivity along with the rescission of quantitative import restrictions on agricultural commodities to decrease food items fees.

“Despite monetary infusion afforded by agriculture-associated interventions, the exposure to worldwide competition has contributed to a substantial dependence of the agricultural sector on the worldwide market, not only for foodstuff, but also for agricultural inputs,” he stated.

Escudero mentioned the Philippines imported about $15.71 billion value of agro-based mostly solutions in 2021, but only exported $6.79 billion of the exact same. As these, bigger agricultural imports relative to exports netted an agricultural trade deficit of $8.92 billion throughout the same calendar year, which is about 40 percent better than the $6.37 billion deficit incurred in 2020.

He mentioned the long-term deficit in trade, in particular in agricultural commodities, could adversely affect job generation, wage amounts and lengthy-time period competitiveness of the agricultural sector and its allied industries.

“This adverse outcome of import dependence is additional aggravated by deep-seated troubles that hinder efforts to know an inclusive, resilient, sustainable and competitive agricultural sector,” Escudero explained.

He stated agriculture would be superior on his legislative agenda and even named on the new administration to commit P400 billion of the national paying package deal to the sector and raising the budget yearly in excess of the up coming six several years to make it a strong, resilient and high-expansion market.

“We must all do our section in building our agriculture business robust. The agriculture sector’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) carries on to drop, and we have to prevent the craze,” Escudero stated.

In accordance to official figures, in 2019 in advance of the onset of the COVID pandemic, the agriculture sector contributed 9.2 p.c to the GDP – way under services (60.6 per cent) and industries (30.2 per cent) – from 2015’s 10.1 percent.

Poverty incidence amid farmers was 31.6 per cent in 2018, in accordance to the Philippine Statistics Authority, followed by fisherfolk at 26.2 per cent.

Farm-to-industry streets

A grasp strategy of farm-to-current market streets is essential to guidance the foods manufacturing and agriculture applications envisioned by President Marcos, Sen. Mark Villar said yesterday.

Villar, a previous general public works secretary below the Duterte administration, said there is a have to have to boost farm-to-market roads to guarantee agricultural farms will have immediate obtain and transportation of their merchandise to the market.

The senator, who was in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur for a university speaking engagement, in a briefing lauded Marcos’ Masagana 150 application that presents more effective seedlings to the farmers.

“Aside from the (agricultural) technologies, there is a need for assist in the infrastructure community to make (the farmers) extra successful,” Villar stated. “Because at the time the farmers turn out to be productive, then their cash flow improves and our foodstuff prices will lessen.”

In accordance to Villar, there is a want to identify the main farms and thoroughfares in crafting the master approach for farm-to-current market roadways even though promptly rehabilitating present streets as an preliminary action to enable farmers.

In the meantime, Villar will also press the Build Make Construct act to institutionalize the plan and to guarantee the continued and effective implementation of tasks.


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