The government, through the updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011-2016, is seeking appropriate policies and more investments to boost agricultural productivity, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said on Thursday.
The NEDA said that growth in productivity and competitiveness of the agriculture and fisheries sector remains a key goal of the government for poverty reduction toward inclusive growth.
It added that the government also aims to enhance the capacity of the sector for value adding, diversifying production and establishing market linkages throughout the supply chain.
“In the updating of the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016, the government continues to uphold the elements that will meet the challenges of transforming agriculture and fishery into a highly productive and competitive sector that not only meets the country’s food requirements, but also offers better income and employment opportunities,” said Mercedita Sombilla, NEDA Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment staff director.
In a speech delivered during the 49th Biennial Convention of the Philippine Agricultural Economics and Development Association (Paeda) in Bukidnon, Sombilla said that inadequacy of efficient infrastructure system, degradation of natural resources that has been further threatened by climate-related risks, and slow development of agri-business opportunities were the main constraints in increasing productivity in agriculture.
She said that measures and strategies such as investing in human capital development and research and development are required to solve the constraints and improve agricultural activity.
Sombilla noted that to encourage farmers to invest, policies will be have to be enhanced to secure long-term individual property rights, and to insure farmers against risks such as weather-related shocks.
Furthermore, she emphasized establishment of strong market linkages, and for the government to find ways to encourage the private sector to have a greater role especially in areas where they have the competitive advantage like in processing and marketing.
“We need to innovate to strengthen government institutions and make them responsive and effective in facilitating markets,” she said.
The NEDA official further stressed that the updated PDP 2011-2016 advocates a new development paradigm that consolidates efforts of various agencies, to generate quality employment and increase incomes in the agriculture and fishery sector.
She cited for example, the integrated programs on two key commodities—coconut and the fisheries— which are being developed so that a comprehensive menu of services will be delivered by various agencies to enhance productivity and add value to raw products.
Sombilla mentioned that an integrated program has been developed to strengthen the coconut industry’s potentials, not only for domestic but also for the international market that will jointly implemented by the Departments of Agriculture, Trade and Industry, Science and Technology, and Public Works and Highways, and the National Anti-Poverty Commission, among other agencies.
“These agencies will have to work together to strengthen the commodity supply chain to get the small farmers involved and to maximize benefits from development gains,” she said.
Meanwhile, the NEDA official emphasized that agriculture will remain a priority sector to address the needs of the country’s growing population, and to take advantage of market opportunities in fast growing economies in Asia.
“Increasing agricultural productivity will support the necessary structural transformation of the economy and is a key factor to poverty reduction in rural areas,” she stressed.