Low farm productivity blamed for need to import
The Department of Agriculture (DA) reiterated that importation would continue to be the administration’s last resort, adding that outsourcing agricultural commodities was being done only to fill in the supply that could not be met by local production.
The statement was made by the agency following criticisms that the current DA leadership “made the country food import-dependent” despite the country’s abundant land and sea resources.
Some of the most controversial debates have been between importers and domestic producers of rice and chicken. Others also aired concerns regarding the DA’s plan to import round scad or galunggong.Reports by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the country’s dependence on imports has been rising over the past 30 years.Since the Duterte administration took power in 2016, the country’s import-dependency rate rose to 22.5 percent. It further increased to 22.7 percent in 2017 and 29.2 percent in 2018.
Fermin Adriano, vice chancellor of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, said that low farm productivity should be blamed for the shortfall in several agricultural items.
“In economic parlance, this is a simple case of local demand outstripping local supply. Thus, importation is a necessary recourse to ensure that our people will not go hungry,” he said. INQ
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