Five agriculture coalitions broad swaths of the Philippine rural population held a press conference today, February 24, 2016 to encourage the five presidential candidates to create concrete action plans to uplift the country’s long-struggling agriculture sector and to address the six unanimously approved priority areas in their programs.
For the first time in history, 5 different coalitions representing different major agriculture groups have merged to address the Philippine’s deteriorating agriculture situation.
The coalitions are consists of Alyansa Agrikultura (AA) that represents farmers and fisherfolks, Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI) representing different agribusiness including value chain champions from 32 agriculture commodity groups, Coalition for Agriculture Modernization in the Philippines (CAMP) that represent academe and science including professors and scientists from universities throughout the Philippines, Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK) representing rural women, and Agriculture Fisheries 2025 (AF2025) that represent different agriculture stakeholder leaders.
Former Secretary for Presidential Flagship Programs and Project, now the Alyansa Agrikultura Chair, Ernesto Ordonez says that “Agriculture remains the most neglected sector in the Philippines, even as it employs millions of Filipinos across the country. Despite the increase in the Department of Agriculture’s Budget from P30 billion to P89 billion between 2011 and 2015, growth in the sector has averaged an anemic 1.5 percent, far from the government’s target of 4 percent. Millions of Filipino farmers go hungry each day, locked out from formal credit, set back by unfair trade, and unable to compete in an increasingly import-dependent economy.”