Filipino farmers and fisherfolks are crucial in the country's development and sustainability; the agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing (AHFF) industry contribute largely to the gross domestic product (GDP), according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). However, they remain to be the poorest sectors in the Philippines.
This Policy Brief looks into the issues confronting these sectors, e.g. inadequate farm input support and lack of sustainable and alternative livelihoods, as well as identifies several recommendations particularly on policy implementation to help alleviate poverty and ensure inclusive economic growth.
Strengthening the Local Support and Representation of Farmers and Fisherfolks
During the national consultation, government representatives from the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Health (DOH) added the following clarifications to the gaps and recommendations raised by the sectors:
- Review the Local Government Code. They pointed out that most of the gaps were a result of the devolution of power from national to the local government. Thus, the allocation of funds for agricultural support, for instance, will depend on the LGU’s agricultural performance. There are already a lot of standards and policies instituted at the national level; what’s needed is to capacitate local governments to improve implementation;
- The devolution can also be held accountable for instances of political patronage at the LGU level, when preference is given to individuals who have close ties with local officials during the distribution of inputs; Make the position of Cooperative Development Officer —coordinator of the members of the sectors in the communities—mandatory to help organize farmers and fisherfolks; and
- Issues concerning farmers and fisherfolks should be viewed in a more holistic and sustainable approach, from property/tenurial rights to support services to productivity/livelihood.