Some definite plans  for Philippine agriculture

Published December 28, 2019, 12:13 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Philippine agriculture was able to achieve  a  2 percent growth in 2019,  Secretary  of Agriculture William Dar said  at the  year’s  final  meeting of the Department of Agriculture’s  Management  Committee. The department   hopes  to  maintain  the present 2 percent  growth in 2020, go up to 3 percent in 2021, and reach 4 percent in 2022.

Although  the  Philippines  is said to be a  good agricultural country, with great fields for rice, corn, coconut, and  other crops,  it  has not developed  its agriculture as well as some of our neighbors in Southeast Asia.  We  cannot  event produce enough  rice for our population; we have to import vast amounts from  Vietnam  and  Thailand.

Agriculture, industry, and services are said to be the three principal components of GDP. According  to figures  compiled by the CIA  World  Factbook,  service is the biggest component of the world’s total GDP today.  It accounts  for  80 percent of the GDP of the United States,   70.9 percent  in  the European Union, and  51 percent  in China.

Next  is  industry.  It  accounts  for  40.5 percent  of the GDP  in China, 25.2 percent in  the European Union, and 19.1 percent  in the US.

Agriculture has the least contribution to the  GDP of most highly developed counties.  It accounts for only  0.9 percent of the US’s  GDP,  1.1 percent  of Japan’s GDP, 1.6 percent  of the  European Union’s.

In  the  Philippines  today, services  contribute the  biggest  part of the GDP – 59.8 percent.   Industry accounts for  30.6  percent  and agriculture  only 9.6 percent.  Services include the income of our millions of  Overseas  Filipino  Workers.  It also includes  the income  from our booming  tourism  industry, with its hotel  services.

We do not hear  much  about  plans of  the industrial  sector, but  agriculture  has such great prospects because of the tremendous  market  possible. This is true especially for rice,  which  accounts  for 9 percent  of  the Filipinos’ consumer basket.  Self-sufficiency  in  rice has long been the dream of Philippine administrations,  as far back as that of President Marcos who had a Masagana 99 program.

The Department of Agriculture under  new  Secretary  Dar now has plans for Philippine agricultural growth. The department, he said,  will  focus  on increasing productivity,  lowering production  losses, value-adding,  and market-matching.

We  look forward to these  coming  years  as the Department of Agriculture carries out its program with very definite  goals of 2 percent  growth in 2020, 3 percent   in 2021, and 4 percent  in 2022. By the end of  President  Duterte’s  term  in  2022, we should have agricultural productivity as  one of his administration’s  greatest  accomplishments.