Author: Jasper Y. Arcalas
Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Philippine Statistics Authority.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations urged the Philippine government to increase its investments in rural areas to discourage Filipino farmers from migrating to other countries.
FAO Representative in the Philippines José Luis Fernández noted that migration is one of the “pressing” issues confronting the Philippine farm sector today, particularly in areas affected by conflict and poverty.
“For a very long time now, investing in rural development and food security has been at the core of the partnership between the FAO and the Department of Agriculture,” Fernandez said in his speech during the opening ceremonies of the World Food Week on October 9.
He said these include increasing farm production and productivity, restoring livelihoods after disasters, building resilience equipping people with skills to pursue off-farm livelihoods and increasing their business skills, and establishing linkages with markets.
“But much remains to be done to create the right conditions for rural families to stay in their communities and prosper there,” Fernandez said.
“In areas where conflict, political instability, lack of opportunity, extreme poverty and food insecurity prevail, people find themselves with no choice other than to move,” he added.
The FAO official noted that most available jobs in agriculture are associated with low and unstable incomes, gender inequality in pay and opportunities, and limited social protection.