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What is lacking in the Philippines’ agricultural sector?

“I do not want my children following in my footsteps.” What would you feel if you heard another farmer saying this to their children if you were a parent? Most of the farmers now in the Philippines tend to feel this way. Why? Unlike other countries, Filipinos consider farmers poor because the occupation is known for having a lesser income. The Philippines is primarily composed of the agricultural sector, with most of its citizens living in rural areas. Being the backbone of our country, agriculture with its workers unfortunately dropped from 45.69% in 1993 to 22.86% by 2019. Farmers are still exploited, neglected, and even waged low after heavily sufficing the country’s needs.

Bringing back the old disastrous phenomenons in the Philippines for the past ten years caused unpredictable circumstances, which led to unpredicted farm knockdowns. With this matter, market failure connections and transactions can be seen. Government support can help farmers overcome market income uncertainties, especially in sudden disasters and weather changes. With this, the initial effort given by the farmers will still result in fairness and surrogation of materials used and consumed to help preserve their places.

This 2020, the Philippine government proposed a $400 million loan to Asian Development Bank. The loan was later approved to support reforms that would increase the productivity and competitiveness of the country’s agriculture sector and reduce poverty in rural areas. The following reforms include irrigation investments, food security, land and water management, enhancement of flood risk management, and agro-enterprise development. Among the reforms is the passage of the 2019 Rice Tariffication Act, which removes the quantitative restriction on imported rice and replaces it with a pure tariff system. With the duties on rice imports, the government produces a Rice Competitiveness Fund to strengthen the country’s rice industry. Other reforms included zero-interest loan offers to more than 160,000 small farmers and additional support to farmers transitioning towards higher-value crops.

With the widening spread of promoting imported rice from different countries here in the Philippines, the rate of market failure within the relationship of consumers and the local losses continues to increase. Nonetheless, the local farmers’ skills and efforts are way too beyond the standard that shows and ensures each and everyone’s safety and healthy consumption patterns. Subsequently, the government should support and provide more financial support for the local farmers and provide more local market connections. Furthermore, the Rice Tariffication Law was established last year, removing rice importing, exportation, and trading restrictions. What’s the bright side? The market price of rice has plummeted. On the other hand, farmers got the short end of the stick as their crops hit a new low in terms of the selling price, resulting in an increasing number of farmers having difficulty maintaining their fields. Greedy capitalists take advantage of this by purchasing the farmers’ holdings and developing subdivisions, retail malls, and other commercial facilities. If this trend continues, no more fields will be available. Our once-agricultural country will have to import rice rather than export it.

Rice tariffication Law is not the issue; instead, the government has failed to prepare and support farmers. The government prepared farmers by distributing fertilizers and tractors rather than giving them the capital they needed to create their Agri corporations and venture into large-scale farming. Yes, some would say that this assistance is enough if farmers have the skills and dedication. But what can faith do if those tractors broke down? A tractor is very different from commercial cars, which is easily worked. How can these struggling farmers fix the tractors provided to them if they struggle to grow and reap their crops because of the weather? Farming is not just skill-based; even if Filipino farmers were unrivaled, what can they do if they lack materials and equipment? Unlike importing crops from other countries, their technologies in farming are significantly much more advanced.

The government implemented the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) to help farmers by distributing land ownership more equitably. Still, it had a lot of loopholes that ended up becoming one of the causes farmers are poor now. It caused a low retention ceiling of hectares on farms which resulted in unviable farm sizes. Throughout the years, CARP beneficiaries have subdivided their inheritance to their kids and grandchildren in minuscule sizes. The reason why the average farmland size in the Philippines right now is less than 1.5 hectares. Farmland of 1.5 hectares might give decent income if the farmer cultivates high-value crops like vegetables and flowers. However, suppose the crops of the farmer are traditional crops such as rice and corn then it is not possible to get a decent income that would support their families on a day-to-day basis.

The Philippines was once a self-sufficient country that became excessively dependent on imported agricultural products due to a lack of government support and insufficient subsidy. First, legal assistance must be provided actively to the farmers concerning tenure security and land reforms. Second, the country’s agriculture sector should be furnished with technological advancements to avoid environmental crises further and promote climate resilience. The passive guidance to a sector should never be the case as many Filipinos income depends on the agricultural sector. Many farmers and fishers rely on this sector to have food on their plates daily. With the current set-up of the industry, many of the contributors to the agricultural sector are experiencing poverty.

By Establishing Youth Economic Settlement


Adriano, F. D. (2020, August 26). Why Filipino small farmers remain poor. The ManilaTimes. Why Filipino small farmers remain poor | The Manila Times. https://www.manilatimes.net/2020/08/27/business/agribusiness/why-filipino-small-farmers-remain-poor/759852

Asian Development Bank. (2020, August 25). ADB to Help Boost Farm Incomes in the Philippines with $400 Million. https://www.adb.org/news/adb-help-boost-farm-incomes-philippines-400-million-loan

Cantiga Y. (2020), Amid Issues on Rice Trade, How Do We Support Filipino Farmers?, retrieved November 22, 2021, from https://www.mypope.com.ph/four-ways-to-help-local-filipino-farmers/

Caña, P. J. (1970). You Should Know: Local Rice is Healthier Than Imported Rice. Esquiremag.Ph. https://www.esquiremag.ph/food-and-drink/food/local-rice-is-healthier-than-imported-rice-a00289-20201113

Purugganan, J. (2021). Philippine Agriculture is Dying—What Will It Take to Save it? Focus on the Global South. https://focusweb.org/philippine-agriculture-is-dying-what-will-it-take-to-save-it/

The World Bank. (n.d.). Employment in agriculture (% of total employment) (modeled ILO estimate) – Philippines | Data. Data.WorldBank. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.AGR.EMPL.ZS?locations=PH


Organization Name:

Establishing Youth Economic Settlement (EYES)


To be the most dignified and distinguished organization in the nation, promoting just economic equalities for small and medium Filipino farmers.


Establishing Youthful Economic Settlement aims to optimize the quality of life and yield local agricultural growth for each community. This organization is committed to creating sustainable economic opportunities for all the small and medium farmers of the country through forwarding just policies.

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