MANILA, Philippines – Based on the study of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies or PDIS, there are four reasons why Filipino farmers and fishermen are not competitive as compared to those in other countries.
These include their lack of skills and knowledge in technology, mechanization, financial literacy and having no ability to access credit.
“If you have no capital, you’ll really have to borrow money from investors,” farmer Ramil Ventenilia said.
“Until now, we still have no irrigation. We are just depending on rainfall. If we will not pump the machine, we will have no water,” farmer Perdro Distor said.
To help farmers address such problems, the Senate is pushing for the creation of the rice competitiveness enhancement fund.
The money for the fund will come from tariffs the government collects from imported rice.
It will then be allocated to the Phil Mech, Phil Rice, Philippine Insurance and government-run banks like the Landbank of the Philippines and the DBP so it could directly be accessed by farmers.
“Towards the long run, our farmers will become competitive. When they become competitive, they can produce rice like what is being done in Vietnam. When they become competitive, it will also help end smuggling and cartels,” Senator Cynthia Villar said.
The world is facing the possibility of a food shortage by 2050 as the population continues to grow.
This is why Philippine officials believe the creation of a fund for individuals in the agriculture sector could help improve the rice production of Filipino farmers.
The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food continues to visit provinces to check on the condition of farmers and fishermen. – Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue