National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) stressed the importance of raising the productivity and innovative capacity of the Philippine economy to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth.
NEDA Director-General and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that the country’s ability to achieve inclusive growth relies heavily on the performance of the productive sectors of the economy such as the agriculture, industry and services sectors.
“Rapid and sustained growth of these sectors will be able to provide more productive and higher paying jobs for the unemployed and underemployed,” he said in a speech during the National Productivity Convention held at Pasay City on Thursday.
Balisacan said a productive and innovative industry and services sector implies the creation of a wide range of products and services. This diversity means additional markets and new production processes that will facilitate better linkage with the primary sectors such as the agriculture and fisheries.
In order to spur productivity and innovation, the government encourages private investments in research and development, the full utilization of available technology, and the development of climate-smart or clean technologies, the NEDA chief explained.
“Local research and development capabilities will also be built for transformative, cutting-edge and sustainable technologies for information and communication, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and new materials, among others,” he said.
Meanwhile, agriculture-based sectors such as coconut, coffee, furniture, garments, fisheries and forest-based products, are being developed to further generate employment and reduce poverty in rural areas.
Balisacan mentioned that government support will also be provided to small-holder farmers and agricultural cooperatives in terms of product development.
“Moreover, their integration with big enterprises for the purpose of marketing and financing will also be supported. Development and rehabilitation of irrigation systems are likewise being pursued to increase crop productivity and enable farmers to have greater control over their production patterns,” he said.
In addition, farm-to-market roads are now being constructed or rehabilitated to strategically connect rural and agricultural areas with market towns and destinations.
The socioeconomic planning secretary said the government acknowledges the valuable role of human resources in the growth and competitiveness of our productive sectors.
As such, he said high-quality and market-responsive education and training are needed to avoid skills gaps, ensure that workers are able to support business activity, and develop innovative capacity.
“To ensure that skills are relevant to the needs of the industry, firms will be encouraged to provide inputs in the design of technical vocational education and training, and other relevant programs of higher education institutions,” he stated.
Furthermore, Balisacan said Agricultural workers will be trained in new technologies and innovations on production, farming system, and fishery practices, as well as agribusiness development and value-chain management to enable them to diversify their income sources and link with industry and services.
“Rest assured that the competency of Filipino workers and professionals will be strengthened—not only in preparation for the regional and global integration such as the upcoming Association of Southeast Asian Nations Economic Community in 2015, but more importantly, to enable them to seize development opportunities that will lift their living standards,” he said.