Editorial: Farmers are the key but they need help-A A +A
Sunday, March 10, 2013
AS EFFORTS are doubled to help the agricultural sectors affected by typhoon Pablo to stand on their own feet again, it is worthwhile to review the UN Food and Agriculture Organization State of Food and Agriculture Report 2012 released just last December.
The report underlined the need to invest in agriculture, not as big-time corporate farms of multi-billion corporations but of public investments to enable the small farmers to produce sustainably.
It pointed out that investing in agriculture is essential in the fight for hunger reduction and promotion of sustainable agriculture production as it noted that the areas where agricultural capital per worker and public investments have not grown through the years are those areas that are today’s epicenter of poverty and hunger.
The report has seven main messages, and we quote:
• Investing in agriculture is one of the most effective strategies for reducing poverty and hunger and promoting sustainability.
• Farmers are by far the largest source of investment in agriculture.
• Farmers must be central to any strategy for increasing investment in the sector, but they will not invest adequately unless the public sector fosters an appropriate climate for agricultural investment.
• A favorable investment climate is indispensable for investment in agriculture, but it is not sufficient to allow many smallholders to invest and to ensure that large-scale investment meets socially desirable goals.
• Governments and donors have a special responsibility to help smallholders overcome barriers to savings and investment.
• Governments, international organizations, civil society and corporate investors must ensure that large-scale investments in agriculture are socially beneficial and environmentally sustainable.
• Governments and donors need to channel their limited public funds towards the provision of essential public goods with high economic and social returns.
December may have been a long time ago and many may regard typhoon Pablo as last year’s news overtaken now by the election campaign, the government’s claim on Spratly’s Islands against China, and what could be an ongoing massacre of Filipinos in Sabah.
But the hinterland residents hit by Pablo, who rely solely on forest products and their farms, are still in dire need and cannot by themselves rise back to re-build their lives; and it will be to the best interest of all, farm product consumers included, for us not to forget that there are still thousands who need to re-build their lives and produce once again to put food on our tables.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 11, 2013.