The ill effects of natural disasters such as the recent typhoons on the farming sector, particularly in northern Luzon, were partly blamed for the slower growth in gross domestic product in the third quarter to 6.1 percent from 6.2 percent the previous quarter and 7.2 percent in the same period a year ago, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.
Government urged to hike funding for agriculture, climate adaptation
Artemio Dumlao (The Philippine Star) - November 18, 2018 - 12:00am

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Ifugao lawmaker Teodoro Baguilat Jr. called on the government to increase investments in agriculture development and climate change adaptation and mitigation as the economy continues to be battered by the adverse effects of natural disasters that have a big impact on the farm sector.

The ill effects of natural disasters such as the recent typhoons on the farming sector, particularly in northern Luzon, were partly blamed for the slower growth in gross domestic product in the third quarter to 6.1 percent from 6.2 percent the previous quarter and 7.2 percent in the same period a year ago, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.

Baguilat urged economic managers and the Department of Agriculture to pursue with more urgency measures to boost agricultural output and adapt to climate change.

These include investments in irrigation and watershed protection given that the Philippines was identified as among the most vulnerable to climate change, marked by the possibility of more frequent and stronger typhoons and more pronounced and longer droughts.

“No real economic growth is possible if sustainable development goals are not equally observed. What sense is profit if people and the planet are left behind?,” Baguilat said.

With strategic and increased investments in critical watersheds, the Philippines will be assured of water supply to urban cities and critical farmland. Deadly landslides and siltation will also be minimized, he said.

“Destroy the watersheds and we end up losing critical water sources and our agriculture sector will eventually suffer even more.

“This means that the productivity of our already vulnerable fishermen and fisher folks will dwindle and keep them in the grip of poverty. They are already the most affected by rising food prices. We should do all we can to boost farm output to keep prices down and increase the revenues of our food producers,” he said.

Baguilat also called for the passage of the long-delayed National Land Use Act and the Indigenous Communities Conservation Areas to ensure the safety of prime agricultural land. He is the principal author of both bills.

“We should prioritize food security and protect the land that we already have. As it is, we are already hard pressed to produce enough food to feed our growing population. We cannot afford to reduce that even further.

With the National Land Use Act, there will be proper delineation of areas for agriculture and for other development purposes,” he said.

AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT CLIMATE CHANGE
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