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Interactive Dialogue on “Targeting Hunger: South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Transforming Agriculture”

Wednesday, 12 February 2020
H.E. Ms. Kira Christianne D. Azucena, Chargé ď affaires, a.i., Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
Trusteeship Council Chamber, UNHQ


Panel 1: Evidence-based policy making to promote sustainable agricultural development to combat hunger


Madam Chair,

The Philippines’ “New Thinking for Agriculture” policy adopted strategies to make farming more economically attractive and socially rewarding, especially for the youth. These strategies include the modernization and industrialization of agriculture; enhanced support to farm consolidation/clustering; development of infrastructure and common service facilities; and higher budget and investments for agriculture by encouraging more private investment and working for higher government budget for food security and development of farm-based enterprises.

The policy emphasizes that an important component for success is a change in the mindset for agricultural development, where the smallholders, including those that are family farmers, get a fair share from the fruits of production and are lifted out of perpetual poverty. Agriculture development should also be anchored on building enterprises for farmers that would allow them to tap the export market.

The government facilitates the access of small farmers and fisherfolk (SFF) to economic opportunities, particularly through access to value chains, technology, and financing; and ensures that their rights and welfare are defended and asserted through the following strategies:

  1. Organize the SFF into formal groups and promote farm consolidation arrangements to bring economies of scale to support the transformation of SFFs to agriculture entrepreneurs or “agriprenuers”;
  2. Provide capacity-building to small farmers and fisherfolk, and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) on processing, understanding markets, undertaking proper product handling and packaging, and ensuring food safety and quality standards that would develop high-value by-products of traditional commodities;
  3. Provide non-farm livelihood options especially to seasonal farm and fishery workers, including training on off-farm and non-farm activities to enable them to take advantage of alternative employment opportunities;
  4. Enhance the capacity of SFF to adopt new and better technologies and provide them with quality advisory and technical services which include on-demand knowledge-sharing and advisory on production and post-production technologies by optimizing the use of information communication technology (ICT);
  5. Increase the number of small farmers and fisherfolk provided with affordable formal credit and agricultural insurance by improving their awareness on the innovative and affordable credit and various insurance programs; and
  6. Develop and implement innovative insurance schemes, affordable financing facilities, and guarantee mechanisms prioritizing them (SFFs) at low-interest rates, minimal or no collateral, and lesser documentary requirements.

To further strengthen family farming, the UN and its Member States must fully implement the Global Action Plan of the UN Decade of Family Farming 2019-2028 which calls for the development of an enabling policy environment by promoting inclusive and effective governance mechanisms and timely and geographically relevant data for well-targeted policy design and implementation; guaranteeing sustained political commitment and adequate resourcing by state and non-state actors; and creating and strengthening local, national, regional and international cooperation in support of family farming.

To support the mobilization of private capital toward job creation and sustainable agriculture, the Philippines has adopted the following policies:

  1. Strict implementation of the Ease of Doing Business Act of 2018 (RA 11032) to address the challenges on red tape in the Philippines and facilitate prompt actions or resolution of all government transactions with efficiency to entice more private investments in agriculture, forestry and fishery (AFF);
  2. Implementation of the Agricultural Free Patent Reform Act (RA11231) which allows agricultural free patent holders to make their land titles immediately tradeable and bankable and provide them access to capital and credit;
  3. Engage the private sector to invest and set up more agri-based enterprises in the countryside and develop local and export markets for agricultural products, such as halal products, as part of modernizing the sector;
  4. Intensify accreditation of private extension service providers (P-ESPs) to serve as partner organizations of the government in providing their expertise on extension services and complementary activities in line with agriculture modernization; and
  5. Government financial institutions and agricultural cooperatives to develop investment instruments, including diaspora investment for agriculture to benefit overseas Filipino workers and young entrepreneurs.

Finally, the government recognizes the role of youth in leveraging digitalization to support development efforts. They could serve as agripreneurs that would engage in agribusiness and similar endeavours, or as “infomediaries” for agricultural information gathering and dissemination, especially for ageing farmers, who might also be their own parents.

Digital technologies, such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, geo-mapping, and the use of drones could be continuously adopted for agricultural development.

Thank you.