Tuesday, July 20, 2010
International body says RP farm production needs to grow by 5% in next 5 years.
TO cut rural poverty and hunger, the Philippines needs to grow farm production by at least 5 percent each year from now until 2015, the International Food Policy Research Institute (Ifpri) said.
Ifpri executive director Shenggen Fan said the Philippines has not been able to prop farm production mainly because of the lack of investments in the sector.
“The Philippines failed to sustain growth because of the lack of investment in agriculture, agricultural research, rural infrastructure and extension [work],” said Fan on the sidelines of the Investment Forum for Food Security in Asia and the Pacific at the ADB Headquarters in Pasig City.
To spur farm-production growth, Fan recommended a focus on smallholder activity and encouraging more private-sector investments and participation in farm production.
“I think the biggest policy agenda should really be smallholders activity and small-farmers activity, and link them to markets and trade,” he said.
“The private sector should also lead the way in establishing agro-processing centers in rural areas. The government should help in facilitating it,” Fan said.
The Philippines has yet to achieve a 5-percent farm growth. In recent years, farm-sector growth averaged between 2 percent and 3 percent.
While it is good to target rice self-sufficiency, Ifpri said the Philippines should target “nutrition security” and not just food security.
“Rice self-sufficiency is only one goal, [but] it is not the right goal. I think the right goal should be...to ensure that the poor would have nutritious food to eat,” said Fan.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is targeting to grow paddy-rice production to more than 21 million metric tons, the projected demand by 2013.
Earlier, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the DA will launch a number of measures, including expanding upland areas planted to rice, to increase paddy-rice production.
By Business Mirror
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