THE Philippines has a construction backlog of 13,000 kilometers (km) of farm-to-market roads (FMR) which needs to be addressed to bring down prices, according to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol.
“The result is fewer products brought to the market and more expensive food items,” Mr. Piñol said in a Facebook post on the weekend.
“We have to build more farm to market roads now,” Mr. Piñol added.
According to the accomplishment report of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in 2018, the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) conducted a Rapid Appraisal of Emerging Benefits (RAEB) for 21 completed FMRs from July 2016 to end of 2018, and results showed that the average income of farming households rose 15% over an average period of 10 months after completion of the FMRs as compared to the same period prior to the implementation.
The DA noted that livelihood opportunities increased along the road, area cultivated inside the road influence area (RIA) increased by 3.5%, transport losses reduced from 11% to 2%, hauling cost decreased by 3.3% (input) and 4.8% (output), and marketing of products improved.
“Last week, I listed the need for more rural roads leading to food production areas as the number one priority of the Department of Agriculture, “ Mr. Piñol said.
“By opening farm roads, government encourages farmers to produce more knowing that it is easier and less costly to bring their products to market,” Mr. Piñol added. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio