AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People decries the longstanding problem of overproduction of food harvests, which are being blamed by Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban to the farmers not being able to plan for their planting season. AGHAM’s Secretary General, Jonallin Yang stated, “such statement coming from a top leader in the government is uncalled for, insensitive and detached from the lamentable living conditions of the farmers.”

She added, “it is the government’s untoward negligence and our full reliance on the import-driven food supply for the country’s food requirements that led to the worsening state of our domestic agricultural production.  It has become the perennial problem of oversupply of food crops such as garlic, onion,  and cabbage while we import staple commodities and products such as rice, poultry and fishery products, salt and sugar that we can produce locally if only the government puts a premium in prioritizing local food production.”

The agricultural backwardness has become much worse than ever when the government allows the liberalization of local agriculture. We have not been ready from the flooding of imported agricultural products on our local market while farmers and other local food producers have been enduring the high cost of production in the absence of state support. 

While the newly elected President has assured that agricultural modernization is underway through the introduction of modern technology on fisheries, livestock, and poultry as well as post-production processing, the country’s agricultural productivity continues to erode due to systemic barriers that hampered our local production.

Landlessness in the greater part of the country’s farming community has made more farmers disadvantageous. In the audit prepared by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) of the Department of Agrarian Reform, only 35% of the land transfer has been accomplished and as of November of 1997 the17,252 hectares that were registered as Land Ownership Award (CLOA) were not yet distributed. 

The absence of substantial support for infrastructures such as irrigation and post-harvest facilities have made local production at a declining state. In the case of the irrigated land areas, only 30% of farmland is irrigated while the rest rely on rain. While we endowed with agricultural land, those were not utilized for food production; rather, 200,000 hectares of agricultural areas have been converted to commercial use.[1]

The eroding  state of our rice production  has worsened with the implementation of the Rice Liberalization Law. In the case study conducted in Leyte, it was noted that local rice farmers were deeply affected by the flooding of rice imports in the local market. They have lost income because they could not compete with the price of imported rice that is much cheaper while they are faced with the high cost of production. [2]

Yang emphasized, “there is an urgent need to reverse the current framework and orientation of liberalized agriculture. We must pursue an independent and nationalized agricultural development integrated with national industrialization. The government must give the land to the food producers and to provide comprehensive and sustainable support to all stakeholders and key players in the agricultural sector. In order to achieve this, we must repeal the Rice Liberalization Law and other repressive policies that weaken our capacity to be a food-secure and self-reliant country. We demand the passage of the Rice Industry Reform Act and Genuine Agrarian Reform that protects and develops our own agricultural resources.”#


[1] Agricultural Modernizationin China and the PhilippinesLessons and Implications, 2020, Aileen Baviera; Tadem, E; Royandoyan, R; Public Policy Monographs, Center of Integrative and Development Studies, UP Diliman

[2] Casinillo, Leomarich. September 2020. Econometric Modelling On Satisfaction In Rice Farming Under Philippine Rice Tariffication Law. Visayas State University


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