DEVELOPMENT partners and sector actors, led by the Embassy of South Korea, called for collaborative efforts to resolve the Philippines’ pressing agriculture issues.
The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines and the local office of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) jointly hosted the climate webinar series: âClimate Resilient and Sustainable Agribusiness: MSME and Value Chain Innovation in Philippines â.
Industry leaders from the public and private sectors, as well as national and international organizations, including the Department of Trade and Industry, the World Bank, the United States Embassy in the Philippines, the Korea International Cooperation (KOICA), the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and NestlÃ© Philippines participated in the recent virtual meeting.
“[The series was] designed to build a closer coordination platform, which will accelerate climate actions among development partners, âsaid Lee Kyoo-ho, Consul General of the Embassy.
The discussion focused on major issues in terms of employment, poverty reduction, especially in the context of the pandemic, as well as adaptation and mitigation of climate change.
According to the embassy, ââ24.8 percent of total national employment in the country, or the equivalent of 9.75 million Filipinos, are anchored in the agricultural sector, which contributes only 10 percent of the gross product. of local development.
Likewise, the value of agricultural production decreased by 1.2% in 2020 due to the pandemic. In addition, the majority of the poor are found in rural areas where agriculture is the main source of income. Farmers are also unduly remunerated in the value chain.
“There is a need to forge a partnership to support … innovation and upgrading of agricultural value chains towards resilience, sustainability and digital transformation,” underscored Trade Secretary Blesila Lantayona.
KOICA Country Director Hwang Jae-sang shared the grant program agency’s current value chain focused project in collaboration with GGGI in Oriental Mindoro, which “provides direct investment and technical support to …[micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as farmers living below the poverty line. It also] is developing an online tool that will provide an analytical and objective basis for planning, in relation to climate vulnerability and risks for the agricultural sector.
PBSP Executive Director Elvin Uy also highlighted the key role of an organizer, influencer and performer who can quickly respond to the needs of marginalized groups in the industry.
According to Climate Watch, the local agricultural front accounts for 26% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. It is included as one of the main sectors of the nationally determined contribution of the Philippines subject to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Ryan Bedford, Acting Agricultural Advisor for the U.S. Embassy, ââhighlighted his government’s efforts through the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate initiative. It also introduced innovative locally applicable approaches, such as an artificial intelligence-based application that can diagnose crop diseases for banana growers.
Angel Bautista, Head of Corporate Affairs for NestlÃ© Philippines, presented the company’s commitments to achieve ‘Net Zero’ by 2050 through three impact areas: Responsible sourcing of ingredients, Transformation of operations and creating a waste-free future. She also shared the âNescafÃ© Planâ, the flagship initiative on rural development which has trained more than 8,000 farmers since 2012.
In terms of climate impact, the agricultural sector is the most vulnerable in the Philippines, which has been faced with frequent typhoons, floods and drought. According to one study, the sector’s net annual welfare loss due to the climate crisis is $ 64 million per year, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute. Thus, improving adaptive capacity is important to prevent exacerbation of risks.
Eli Weiss, senior agricultural economist at the World Bank in the Philippines, shared the experience of the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) – the flagship project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) with $ 850 million in domestic funding from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The program is dedicated to scientific planning based on vulnerability analysis, infrastructure development and business development.
Weiss stated that âDA-PRDP takes [on a holistic approach in promoting sustainable and equitable growth in productivity, as well as the] income of farmers and fishermen sensitive to climate impact.
Finally, Kim Ju-hern, national representative of GGGI who moderated the session, added that âthere are still untapped opportunities in the sectorâ¦
âDevelopment partners and private sectors need to collaborate more to design bankable projects in the [agriculture sector, which will create a bigger impact to addressâ¦economic, social and environmental issues surrounding it]Said Lee.
Participants agreed that well-designed government policies, along with catalytic investments from donors and private entities, can accelerate the sustainable transition of Philippine agriculture.