Poverty Among Farmers in the Philippines
More than one-third of the Philippines’ 50 million citizens living in rural areas are considered poor. Most rural citizens depend on agriculture as the primary or only source of income for their families. These families end up further in poverty as agricultural productivity declines, unsustainable practices continue and economic growth lags. Here is some information about poverty among farmers in the Philippines including what some are doing to eliminate it.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Farmers in the Philippines
COVID-19 exacerbated poverty in the farming community by devastating the Philippean economy. Intense quarantine restrictions and natural disasters in 2020 led to an increase in poverty. The inability to transport goods and items has disrupted the farming sector. It continues to stall the stabilization of the economy. Farmers in rural areas have remained among the poorest group in the Philippines since 2006.
The ACDI has attempted to combat the poverty that farmers in the Philippines feel through its Cooperative Development Program. The ADCI/VOCA is a Washington, D.C.-based organization focusing on economic development and growth to raise living standards in poverty-stricken countries. Founded in 1993, the global organization has developed multiple programs in the Philippines to aid the farming community.
Philippine Coffee Advancement and Farm Enterprise
Some of ACDI/VOCA’s past initiatives include the Philippine Coffee Advancement and Farm Enterprise (PhilCAFE), which emphasized supporting farmers in the coffee sector. PhilCAFE aimed to increase the production and exports of coffee by promoting the coffee industry, facilitating the establishment of good agricultural practices, improving technologies and supporting lending.
The initiative has helped 349 individuals access agricultural financing and has also formed partnerships with 50 public-private partnerships as of November 2020.
The MinPact Project
The organization also implemented the Mindanao Productivity in Agricultural Commerce and Trade (MinPACT) Project. The project helped increase the incomes of small farmers in the cocoa, coconut and coffee farming industries of Southern and Western Mindanao, an area with extreme poverty rates in the Philippines.
The project worked to reduce poverty and food insecurity in Mindanao by supporting smaller farmers. The approach included plans to increase production, improve productivity, support improved agricultural practices, provide training to reduce harvest loss, provide grants to improve systems and equipment and promote sustainability in the farming industry.
The initiative assisted 6,360 farmers and trained them in farming planning, improved infrastructure for production in 26 enterprises and gave access to traditional cash loans to 1,248 farmers.
CDP in the Philippines
ACDI’s Cooperative Development Program (CDP) works in multiple countries to support cooperatives and their members by promoting economic growth and bolstering civil society. The CDP launched in the Philippines in September of 2022. Agreements with more than 40 local cooperatives made this possible.
These cooperatives are members of the agricultural sector in areas such as rice, coconut, coffee, cacao and dairy production. The CDP in the Philippines will implement a five-year plan to provide the assistance the agriculture industry needs. The multimillion-dollar effort will “foster broad-based economic growth, raise living standards, and help build dynamic agricultural value chains.”
CDP Philippines hopes to see the positive effects of investing in the next five years through its efforts to “promote inclusion, integration, and innovation to create a more vibrant and sustainable farming community.”
– Brooklynn Rich
Photo: Wikipedia Commons