Agri programs to boost farmers’ income, productivity get support-A A +A
Sunday, March 17, 2013
THE National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) is advocating an evidence-based program in agriculture for a sustained improvement in productivity and farm incomes, especially for small farmers, said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.
"We also want the National Food Authority (NFA) to be strong in rice buffer stocking for emergency purposes and to focus its interventions and programs in areas that would enhance efficiency in the production, marketing, and trade of rice," said Balisacan, who is also the Neda director-general.
He said Neda has never advocated a policy change that runs contrary to efficiency and poverty reduction objectives in agriculture.
"We recognize that the agricultural sector is a major challenge in Philippine economic development as its potential as a growth driver and source of poverty reduction is not being maximized," the Cabinet official said.
He said the government needs to substantially improve productivity and raise farm incomes, especially among small farmers and landless workers, to make a big dent on poverty in rural areas where two of every three poor persons in our country are located.
"This will require investment in long-term sources of growth, such as rural road infrastructure, irrigation, research and development, security of land rights and tenure, as well improving the access of farmers to credit and the global or national supply chains," Balisacan said.
He added that Neda is focused on developing an enabling environment for food security.
"Food security is not just guaranteeing availability of food at the national level but, more importantly, ensuring that food is accessible for all through low prices and improved purchasing power of buyers, including millions of small farmers who are net buyers of food," Balisacan said.
He also stressed that investment in infrastructure is a crucial area, particularly roads and bridges, fit in the picture because this improves mobility of people, goods, and services, thereby reducing the cost of doing business in rural areas.
"We must also increase the sector’s resilience to climate change risk, and enhance the policy environment and governance through convergence of rural development agencies and through public-private partnerships in infrastructure and value chain development," Balisacan said.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 18, 2013.