Follow us on Spotify BusinessWorld B-Side

COVID-19 has exposed how fragile the agriculture sector is. Local farmers are among the hardest hit by the pandemic and the protracted crisis is putting a strain on the country’s food supply chains. Magsasaka Party-List Representative Argel Joseph T. Cabatbat and BusinessWorld reporter Genshen L. Espedido talk about the consequences of the delays in modernizing our rice farms and why we should aim for food sovereignty in the long-term.


Government has to work harder to ensure that our food supply chain remains intact.
Allied businesses of the agricultural sector were not granted frontliner exemptions during the lockdown. As a result, the delivery of supplies and equipment critical for the operation of the agricultural sector was limited. Government should make sure that the transportation of agricultural products and farm inputs remains unhampered especially during a crisis.

Farmers are among the hardest hit by the pandemic.
COVID-19 greatly disrupted the country’s agricultural sector. The pandemic made it more difficult to distribute the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), which was supposed to equip farmers with modern machinery to facilitate efficient farming. At the same time, farm produce anticipated to be sold in bulk during this season was wasted. Aid should be distributed immediately to farmers to help them recover from their losses.

In the long-term, we should aim for food sovereignty.
The pandemic showed that the Philippines cannot continue relying on importation, as other countries limit their exports to secure their own food supply for their citizens. The country should prioritize Filipino farmers by giving them enough financial and material resources, thus ensuring food sovereignty.

Recorded remotely on April 28. Produced by Nina M. Diaz, Paolo L. Lopez, and Sam L. Marcelo.

Follow us on Spotify BusinessWorld B-Side