How can we sustainably increase agriculture’s growth by at least 1%?



The Philippine financial system Is about to develop this yr at mightbe between 4% and 5%, breaking out of a deep contraction final yr largely As a Outcome of of financial lockdpersonals right here and worldwide financial recession, all due to COVID-19. If agriculture Goes to make An monumental contribution to financial reuperatey, it ought to reuperate its progress efficiency of a quantity of yrs again.

Current knowledge Isn’t encouraging. Agricultural progress Did not contribute to The greater progress of the financial system Inside the final decade. When the financial system increaseed faster till it turned the second-biggest performer in East Asia after China, The enlargement disparity between GDP (gross home product; the monetary measure of the market worth of All of the final items and providers produced in A particular time interval) and GVA (gross worth added; the measure of The worth Of merchandise and providers produced in an space, enterprise or sector) from the sector progress had widened. Agriculture was left behind.

It is not surprising that As a Outcome of the financial system reuperates this yr and sustains greater progress in 2022, the sector will, as Prior to now, be left behind.

To reverse this trfinish, authorities might Want to Think about realizing the comparative benefit of the agriculture and fisheries sector. In the Nineteen Sixties, the agriculture’s share in complete exports Was 64%. Its contribution to GVA was 33%. In 2019, these decides dropped To eight% and 1.6% respectively.

Think abouting each exports and imports, the tradability of the sector fell from 38% Inside the Nineteen Sixties to solely 3.5% in 2019.

If the sector can enhance its share in general progress of the financial system, the sector has simply to increase its exports and imports. It has To Wind up to be extra open to The worldwide financial system. Economic efficiency correlates strongly with export efficiency, and strong export efficiency in flip correlates with extra imports.

We had focused our consideration on developing productiveness, investing vital portions of public money To enhance the yield of our rice farmers. The disbenefit has been that we had overly Concentrating on doing that on simply the rice enterprise On the expense of The completely different commodities with good potential Of accelerating the sector’s exports. Rice, it’s true, had been our success story in exports Inside the Nineteen Seventies. However that was Only for A pair of yrs, and On their peak, was not that vital.

Our apparent mantra to relive our golden age in rice has come On the expense of falling export efficiency. We used to take satisfaction in our coconut exports Inside the Nineteen Seventies, but we misplaced that benefit to palm oil exports. It is regarding To discover that agriculture-based mostly exports accounted For Decrease than 7% of The complete merchandise exports in 2018, 9% if we embrace processed meals and drinks.

I tried to estimate The worth of forgone exports of The very biggest 20 agricultural exports Inside The very biggest 20 market locations. We might have misplaced $230 million by not Benefiting from the strong progress of imports in our buying and promoting companions like America of merchandise that We will current. Truly, 65% Of these potential exports forgone is accounted for by our agricultural exports to the US.

It is about time that as we proceed to increase the productiveness of our farmers and fisherfolk, we give extra weight to developing our exports, to realizing the comparative benefit of the sector in worldwide markets.

Meals Safety Requirements
Tright here are A lot of constraints to exports, but I even have to Think about our failure To fulfill worldwide food safety regulars. Prime 20 Philippine exports over the interval 2014-2018 have been benchmarked in the direction of the food safety measures utilized by the nation’s top export markets. Over the 5-yr interval, the imply share of The very biggest 20 commodities was almost 3/4 of all such exports. The buying and promoting companions in flip, which embrace the East Asian nations, the EU, Australia, and America account for 91% of all export markets Of these merchandise of the nation.

Food safety associated measures comprise The majority of all non-tariff measures on traded merchandise. World Commerce Group (WTO) member nations maintaInside their proper to develop and undertake Their very personal food safety legal guidelines that current their respective relevant ranges of safety. Wright hereas completely different nations have completely different SPS regulars, the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Settlement strongly finishorses the worldwide regulars set by the worldwide regular setting our bodies.

International benchmarking of agricultural exports Is very important to understanding general export efficiency Inside these merchandise. Failure circumstances or refusals On the border of the nation’s exports is proof of a weak performance To evolve to worldwide regulars. I examined The set offs for rejections of our agricultural exports going To three markets, Australia, the EU, and America.

In Australia, the circumstances of export rejections are traced To these merchandise not meeting most residue limits (MRL) of non-microorganic substances; prohibited substances Utilized in processing the food product; and aflatoxin incidence. Two SPS regulars are at problem: MRLs and prohibited or restricted substances. For MRL, the SPS performance in question includes the manufacturing and submit-manufacturing processes ensuing Inside The final merchandise (dried fish and jute leaves). Enhancing the performance On this space might entail enhancing the manufacturing processes and submit-harvest/manufacturing dealing with, or offering wider entry to testing laboratories for export-sure food merchandise.

For prohibited or restricted substances, food exports are obligated To evolve with the adverse itemizing Of medicine set by Australia. Tons of the pertinent incidents decide processed meals Which have had micronutrients (dietary vitamins) added. Wright hereas micronutrients May be not innately hazardous to well being, the Australian regular Does not permit the indicated product-micronutrient mixtures. Until the scientific legitimacy of prohibiting the substances in question has been challenged by the Philippines, the SPS problem then Discover your self to bes an consciousness disbenefit. Providing related information Prematurely to food exporters on this Australian regular avoids incidents of failed food export inspections and permits time for exporters To regulate the product composition.

In the case of our exports to The eu Union, 13 completely different product packages have been reported in 83 circumstances of food safety alerts. In all probability the most affected export merchandise are ready dishes and snacks, accounting For almost 23% of all the circumstances. These processed meals have been notified as well being risks due principally to their use of prohibited colouring components and completely different substances. For soups, broths, sauces, and condiments, most of The factors are Concerning the extreme ranges of colouring components and a carcinogenic chemical food contaminant.

The associated well being risks for nuts, nut merchandise, and seeds are principally due to extreme ranges of aflatoxin. The secondary set off is the undeclared use of colouring components, That are all not accredited.

Hazard notifications for fish and fish merchandise have been principally As a Outcome of of damaged or defective packaging and insufficient temperature administration while in transit or storage.

In the case of the US market, the import refusal costs Might be organized inTo three widespread packages: adulteration, misbranding, and all completely differents. Seven out of 10 import refusal costs have been due to adulteration. Adulteration due to organic contaminants (pathogen or toxin) accounted for 14%. Chemical-associated adulteration have been 17% of all costs, and two-thirds Of these pertain To make the most of of colour components deemed unsafe.

Adulteration due to all completely different elements aside from organic and chemical is The very biggest set off for all import refusals, and the cost reads as: “article seems to Include A unclean, putrid, or decomposed substance.” This recurrents virtually 40% of all refusal costs and virtually 41% of all adulteration costs.

Subsequent to adulteration are costs associated to labeling which cowl each SPS and technical set offs. Out of 1,090 import refusal costs, 235 have been due to the above labeling set offs. In all probability the most frequent labeling case is failure to declare Using synthetic colouring.

Other refusal costs outdoors of adulteration and misbranding solely Check with “no New Drug Software.” This is relevant to merchandise that declare well being and completely different therapeutic benefits.

The weak factors or constraints of our nation’s exports Might be reversed by informationrming and aiding producers and exporters Adjust to the market regulars of buying and promoting companions. International benchmarking to the world’s product and market regulars Can be An important assist to exporters to increase their earnings, and to diversify the markets for the nation’s top food and agricultural merchandise.

If We would Just like the sector To enhance its progress by A minimal of 1%, the authorities might mightbe focus their assist to serving to our agriculture and fishery exporters meet worldwide food-safety regulars.


Romeo L. Bernardo was finance undersecretary By way of the Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos administrations.