My friend and former Tempo newspaper colleague, Mike Alunan, who now writes for the Business Mirror, wrote the first part of a series explaining how government neglect of agriculture and fisheries results in higher poverty incidence.
I fully agree with Mike’s views but unfortunately many of our policy planners and even economic managers do not see the correlation of a neglected agriculture sector to a country’s poverty rate.
The equation is very simple: Neglected agriculture results in less productivity thus less income for farmers and high cost of food which then results in greater burden on poor consumers who have to stretch their meager income to buy food.
The suggestion that we should just import what the farmers and fishermen could not produce is myopic and a lazy man’s idea.
Indeed, who benefits from importation?
And, given the realities of Climate Change, what would we do, where do we source the imported food items if the countries which supply these would be affected by climatic aberrations like El Niño or La Niña.
I am sharing the first part of Mike’s article. His ideas and views are not new but I am just relieved that somebody in the media profoundly understands the connection between neglected agriculture and national poverty.