Author: Jasper Y. Arcalas
Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Philippine Statistics Authority.
Hard-earned money by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) could just be the key to solve the country’s perennial challenge of achieving food self-sufficiency and security, according to the the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
In its study, titled “Interrelations between Public Policies, Migration and Development in the Philippines” (IPPMD), the OECD recommended that the Philippine government should craft concrete policies and programs that could prove to Filipino migrant workers that the agriculture sector is worthy of their investments.
“Stakeholder interviews highlighted the fact that the agricultural sector is seen as one of subsistence living rather than one of business and investment opportunity. The main challenge for the Philippine government is, therefore, to make the agricultural sector more attractive to investors and to move from a standpoint where food security is not only about purchasing power, but also about investment and production,” the OECD said in its study published recently.
“The Philippines’s migration strategy should also integrate these dynamics so that migration can be a force for greater resilience in the agricultural sector; similarly, agricultural policies need to be crafted to ensure they influence people’s migration decisions in a productive direction. Such steps will help to ensure that current farming households remain interested and invested in the agricultural sector and new ones are drawn in,” the OECD added.
Citing the 2008 global rice crisis, the OECD noted that the economic transition of the Philippines is undertaking—from an agricultural to a more diversified economy—threatens the country’s food security, making it “heavily” dependent on commodity imports.