There seems to be a new light at the end of the tunnel for the small
Filipino farmers. This seems apparent as the International Fund for
Agricultural Development and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for
Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture have teamed up to pour in
millions in funds for assistance.
With the collaboration of the International Fund for Agricultural
Development and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and
Research in Agriculture, the small Filipino farmer can hope to raise their
food exports. The Philippines currently imports more agricultural products
from Australia, the United States, Europe and ASEAN that it exports to
Because of the big trade imbalance between the Philippines and other rich
nations, these two entities have decided to join hands to help the small
Filipino farmer. The two entities have embarked on a program called
Agricultural Transformation & Market Integration. This program seeks to
integrate small farmers into the larger ASEAN market.
Official records show that the Philippines imported $555 million worth of
goods from Australia but exported only $69 million in 2016. From the US, we
imported $2.54 billion worth of goods as against our exports of only $1.334
billion. Our negative balance of trade with Australia last year stood at
$486 million and with the United States, it stood at $1.208 billion.
That also goes for our exports to the ASEAN. Last year, we imported $3.837
billion but exported only $525 million worth of goods in 2016. For the
other countries with whom we have trade relations, we imported $4.036
million worth of farm goods but exported only $1.684 billion.
This is the grim picture of our Balance of Trade with the world. The good
news, though, is the dawning of golden opportunities for Philippine farm
exports. Coconut oil exports grew from $574 million in 2015 to $711 million
in 2016. The same goes for our banana exports which grew from $658 million
in 2015 to $730 million in 2016.
The Agricultural Transformation & Market Integration program seeks to
enhance cooperation among ASEAN nations for food security and agricultural
development through investment in food and agri-based industries. Small
farmers will be assisted in upgrading their processing, transporting and
marketing of their raw and fresh farm produce. The program will also
address the problem of access to credit that can help farmers in
transporting their goods and lease or buy additional land areas to maximize
their farm production.