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Mindanao, with six regions, has the highest poverty incidence (36% in 2015) among the three main island groups including Luzon and Visayas. The region hosts a disproportionate percentage of rural poor. Agriculture diversification is key to reducing the high rural poverty.
The Philippine Development Plan targets the reduction of the national poverty headcount to 14% in 2022 from 21.6% in 2015. Relatedly, rural poverty is expected to fall to 20% from 30%.
Over the past eight years and two administrations, the Philippine economy posted a high growth rate averaging over 6% a year and an average gross domestic product (GDP) per capita growth of 4.5% a year. The strategic question is: Which regions have been advancing and which have been lagging over the past eight years?
Permanent crops are mainly trees (e.g., coffee, cacao, rubber) but they also include palms (e.g., coconut, oil palm) and vines (e.g., pepper) (www.fao.org). They are planted and possess long economic life. By contrast, temporary or annual crops are sown and harvested during the same agricultural year. Examples are rice, corn, sweet potato, peanuts and vegetables.
Many politicians propose solving rural poverty via three areas: irrigation, post-harvest facilities and farm-to-market roads. I beg to differ. It is much more than that. Indeed, needs are area and crop-specific. High productivity and diversification require these investments, but there are more to spur investments.
If there is an agriculture miracle in the ASEAN in the past two decades, it is Vietnam. It is not hard to compare Vietnam with the Philippines. They have similarities in terms of land area, population, agricultural area, and, I guess, farm sizes.
The Legatum Prosperity Index (LPI) offers unique insights into how prosperity is changing across the world. The LPI defines prosperity “as more than just the accumulation of material wealth, but also as the joy of everyday life and the prospect of being able to build an even better life in the future.” The Legatum Institute is a London-based think-tank with a global vision: to see all people lifted out of poverty (https://www.prosperity.com/).
What is the score of global hunger in ASEAN?
2018 is a subdued year for many world-traded commodities. Prices are down. The Philippine countryside was not spared, as it is reeling from the effects of low farm prices of coconut oil palm and rubber. The bitter part is that farmers and workers are saddled with high food prices.
High-value commercial crops refer to “those crops that have competitive returns on investment when traded in fresh form vis–a–vis alternative investment opportunities. These crops are characterized by defined regular or niche market or potential domestic and/or export markets, command high prices, with value added or are good foreign exchange earners. High-value commercial crops are also called non-traditional crops. (High Value Crops Farmer Guidelines – Department of Agriculture (DA) – CAR).
Why is national poverty incidence in the Philippines more than twice that of ASEAN peers -- Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam? It is even magnified in the farmers’ and fishers’ poverty of 34%. Thesis: it is due to broad-based low productivity and concentration on few products.
Bill Gates of the Gates Foundation supports many initiatives in developing countries. He has espoused the decisive role of agriculture in development. Of the...
The Global Food Security Index (GFSI), developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit with sponsorship from DuPont, is a universal benchmarking tool on food...