According to the Department of Finance, stable food supply is a result of reforms in the agricultural sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Data from the National Economic Development Authority shows that the agriculture sector managed to grow by 1.6 percent in the second quarter of 2020 while other economic sectors declined.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III notes that the steady growth of the agriculture sector is crucial to achieve steady food prices for all Filipinos, which is why he challenged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to fulfill a two percent annual growth target. This will keep agriculture ahead of the country’s population expansion rate.
With that, Dominguez suggests five ways to guarantee adequate supply of the most basic crops:
- Extend productivity gains in the rice sector to other plantation crops, particularly sugarcane. This includes ways to improve the welfare of sugar workers, small landholders, planters, millers, and other domestic industries.
- Digitize agricultural systems. This will reduce middlemen, processes, and waste from the farm system while adding value and quality to food and income to farmers and agri-entrepreneurs.
- Expand access to digital marketing to boost consumer spending. This will give people access to fresh produce and provide more business to the transport sector (in terms of providing delivery services).
- Mechanize farm production. This will make Philippine agriculture competitive by reducing spillage and spoilage that jack up the prices of agricultural produce.
- Improve the DA’s efficiency in program delivery. This includes the completion of farmers’ registration for a more solid basis of policy and program formation.
The Department of Finance says they will continuously work on financing the agricultural sector by pushing amendments to the Agri-Agra Reform Act for an efficient and stable agricultural value chain.