October 19, 2010
Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has urged that a roadmap be crafted by all stakeholders that would address the country’s food security.
Pangilinan, chairman of the Senate committee on agriculture, said the following areas should be addressed: access to markets; research and development; access to credit and support services for farmers, agricultural workers, and their families; crop diversification; development infrastructure and facilities; and food security in the midst of climate change.
“This early in PNoy’s administraton, we should sit down and craft a roadmap that would address the lack of investments in agriculture, productivity, food security, income and livelihood, and hunger and poverty. Since majority of Filipinos depend on agriculture for livelihood and even basic survival, then the government should prioritize agriculture as a growth driver for our country,” he said.
Studies have shown that the Philippines is around 70 percent rural, and that majority of the labor force is either directly or indirectly tied to agriculture. However, the agriculture sector accounts for only less than 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
The Department of Agriculture reported a contraction of 2.59 percent in agricultural performance for the first half of 2010, with crops down by as much as 6.72 percent.
A recent World Bank report also showed that poverty and hunger incidence is highest in rural areas.
“We all know what the problems are but we are not focused on solving these problems and identifying targets and deadlines to deliver results,” Pangilinan asserted. “A roadmap, a strategy for agriculture, must be cobbled together by government and all stakeholders.”
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