Sample of an Agricultural Development, Food and Nutrition Security Paper
Agriculture is a very important sector of the economy as it among other things ensures that there is food security. As a student you might be asked to write an agriculture and food security paper. While writing such a paper, you are supposed to spare enough time to researching the whole concept of agricultural development and food security. You should then come up with a thesis statement that you can defend in your paper.
Agricultural Development, Food and Nutrition Security
The agricultural sector is the key factor leading to the growth of economies in the low and middle-income countries. Notably, agriculture accounts for a large share of gross domestic product, mainly employs a large population of the labor force and represents the primary source of foreign exchange. Additionally, it supplies the greatest bulk of basic foods and provides subsistence and other income to more than half of the population in low and middle-income countries. In this regard, the strong linkages within the rural sector and other fields of the economy provide added stimulus for revenue generation and growth. Therefore, substantial progress in promoting economic growth, enhancing food security and reducing poverty cannot be achieved in most of these countries without well thought out measures. In fact, without developing more fully potential human and productive capacity of the agricultural field and enhancing the agricultural contribution to the overall social development, such measures are unattainable. Moreover, healthy and vibrant farming systems form an important pillar in the strategy of overall economic development and growth. Philippine is one of the middle-income countries that have experienced agricultural evolution over the years.
Many people believe that Philippines is an agricultural economy. However, agriculture, fishery, and forestry account for only one-fifth of the economy’s total growth domestic product. Fundamentally, since 1960, the direct share of agriculture in Philippines’ GDP had fallen below one-third. Nevertheless, by 1981, agriculture’s share had lowered to about 23 percent. From this time onwards, growth became rather anemic averaging at 1.7 percent per annum from 1981 to 2003 (Bongaarts, 2016). Comparatively, the country’s GDP growth averaged at 2.6 percent in the same period. Essentially, the agricultural sector in the Philippines creates numerous employment opportunities, 37 percent. However, the sector displays most unpredictable growth compared to Philippine’s major industries. This is because growth rates tend to fluctuate from time to time. Similarly, from 2004 through the preceding years, the performance of the agricultural sector has witnessed dramatic slowdowns due to harsh climatic conditions (Habito & Briones, 2005).
Notwithstanding these challenges, agriculture plays a fundamental role in the Philippine’s economic development. First, it acts as a source of food and essential raw materials for the growing industrial sector. Secondly, it provides a significant market for non-agricultural products. In this regard, people purchase farm inputs as well as consumer goods and services produced in the non-agricultural economy. Lastly, the sector releases surplus labor to the industry and service field as it continues to grow and modernize in the face of limited supplies. Evidently, about 70 percent of Philippines’ poor community comes from the rural areas where agriculture is the dominant source of employment and livelihood. Thus agricultural significance to the economy cannot be overemphasized (Bongaarts, 2016).
Food and Nutrition Security in the Philippines
Notably, Philippines has recorded unprecedented economic growth in the recent years. However, despite this growth, poverty and hunger still plague the country. In fact, hunger is among the serious problems that need immediate attention. Evidently, the Philippines is a food insecure country regardless of the biodiversity. Agricultural outputs have remained considerably low for about 30 years (World Bank, 2011). Mostly, government’s inability to provide strong support services to the sector directly contributes to this problem. Coincidentally, international hunger ratings show that the Philippines is among the top 30 countries concerning hunger incidences. Most importantly, the ratings have not recorded significant improvement in the last two decades. Markedly, with food security still a major challenge, the nutrition of Filipinos remains primarily at risk. Notably, as per the World Insecurity Report of Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO), about 15 million Filipinos were undernourished from 2011-2013 (Balisacan, 2003). These statistics position Philippines as the second biggest malnourished citizens in the world coming after Indonesia.
From 1970, Philippines’s agricultural performance compared well with that of its neighbors and other Asian countries. However, in the periods between the 1980s and 1990s, Philippine was lagging behind most countries in the region. In this regard, this trend came as an agricultural output growth that slowed down through the decades. Fundamentally, agricultural sector’s growth had been erratic in the 1990s mostly due to the El Nino that had an appreciable impact on weather patterns (FAO, 2014). This further increased agricultural performance. In contrast, the decelerating growth in the last two decades is of primary concern since the sector employs many people from the poor communities. Nevertheless, whereas agriculture employed about 36.4 percent of the labor force in 2003, the rate was 44 percent a decade earlier. Moreover, labor productivity in Philippine agriculture compares competitively with other developing countries. Most importantly, the country’s labor productivity remains higher than that of other large countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, India, and China. However, the productivity is still lower compared to that of other nations with higher per capita incomes (Balisacan, 2003).
According to (Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, 2014), the top five major crops in Philippine are corn, rice, banana, sugarcane, and coconut. Further, sugarcane and coconut are traditional exports. In contrast, banana is a key nontraditional export. Conversely, the yield performance of such major crops is traceable from 1960. For example, the growth rate of rice was fastest in the 196os. However, it drastically slowed down in the 1970s due to the Green Revolution technology which diffused and almost received 100 percent adoption. Besides, rice productivity growth later increased in the 1980s before the recent slowdown. Secondly, corn experienced robust growth in the 1960s, followed by a downturn in the 1970s. However, it recovered in the preceding decades (Wheeler & Von, 2013). Apart from that, unlike rice, corn has managed to keep its yield growth relatively constant. On the contrary, it is only sugarcane and corn that have witnessed production declines as the rest have maintained a decent pace (Balisacan, 2003). Again, sugarcane and coconut experienced robust growth over the years. Bananas on the other side recorded increased growth in the 1970s followed by a severe downturn and then a revival in the recent years.
The marginal concept measures provide a clear picture of productivity. In particular, average productivity becomes useful only as a crude approximation of marginal productivity. In the Philippines, agricultural output growth was relatively steady up to 1970s and then sharply declined due to the deceleration in input growth. Meanwhile, for Thailand and Indonesia, agricultural growth was robust as it was driven by the large and consistent development of total factor productivity. Besides, technological advancements attribute to the bulk of the agricultural growth. Moreover, the computation for the other Philippines is somewhat similar and quite small compared to most Asian economies (Habito & Briones, 2005).
Major Drivers to Food and Nutrition Security Improvements
Despite the numerous economic challenges facing the Philippines, some key drivers help to improve food and nutrition security in the country. First, substantial improvements in science and technology enable the production of new crops that are environmental friendly and resistant to harsh climatic conditions. This further helps in ensuring there are seeds and seedlings suitable for growth in most parts of the country. By far, this helps in increasing food security among the citizens (Wheeler & Von, 2013). Secondly, the government and other agricultural stakeholders regularly invest in researching in post-harvest technologies to facilitate safe storage of harvested crops. In the past, poor post-harvest measures were the primary reason as to why most farmers underwent losses of their produce more so due to ineffective storage methods and facilities. Thirdly, more emphasis is laid on strong extension systems that bring such technological advancements close to poor farmers. Currently, extension officers are readily available to give farmers advice on the most appropriate agricultural activities for a particular region as well as how to use technology to maximize yields. Lastly, a good market infrastructure for efficient distribution of food is a crucial driver for food and nutrition security in the Philippines. Further, this provides better livelihood opportunities for needy families to access the food markets as well increase awareness about proper nutrition (FAO, 2014).
The Philippines needs to increase the land under irrigation more so in the areas that produce rice. Markedly, more funds need to be channeled into the construction and repair of rice irrigation projects. Moreover, new pump irrigation projects need to be adopted to increase food production as well as diversify cropping. Secondly, the National Bureau of Soil and Water Management requires more funding for small water impounding projects and shallow tube wells. Thirdly, international donors and local government require constructing about 8000 kilometers of farm-to-market roads to facilitate smooth delivery of agricultural produce to the markets. Finally, modern post-harvest facilities for drying grains needs to be installed to help in storage of surplus produce. Fundamentally, all these measures once implemented would help in increasing food and nutrition security in the Philippines (Habito & Briones, 2005).
In summary, most world economies greatly depend on agriculture. Notably, the agricultural sector provides employment opportunities to many people in such countries. Besides, the sector acts as a source of raw materials for industries. The Philippines has experienced numerous shifts concerning agricultural development. In particular, the major five major crops in Philippine, corn, rice, banana, sugarcane and coconut have recorded a fluctuating growth pattern since 1960. Concerning food security, Philippines is ranked among the top countries experiencing hunger. Furthermore, this trend gives rise to the increased malnutrition cases. In fact, the Philippines is second to Indonesia concerning the highest number of malnourished citizens globally. Several measures are recommended among them increasing funding to facilitate both regular and pumped irrigation projects to improve food and nutrition security among the Filipinos.
Bongaarts, J. (2016). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: The State of Food and Agriculture: Agricultural Trade and Poverty: Can Trade Work for the Poor?. Population and Development Review, 33(1), 197-198.
Balisacan, A. (2003). “Poverty and Inequality.” The Philippine Economy: Development, Policies, and Challenges. A. Balisacan and H. Hill, eds. Ateneo de Manila University Press, Quezon City.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. 2014. State of Food and Agriculture 2004. FAO, Rome.
Wheeler, T., & Von Braun, J. (2013). Climate change impacts on global food security. Science, 341(6145), 508-513.
World Bank. (2011). Philippines – Nutrition at a glance. Nutrition at a glance ; Philippines. Washington DC ; World Bank.
Habito, C., & Briones, R. (2005, June). Philippine agriculture over the years: performance, policies and pitfalls. CARP Impact Assessment Studies vol. 4. Department of Agrarian Reform, Quezon City.
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