The Philippines are one of the big rice consuming countries worldwide. Despite having a long tradition in rice cultivation, the Philippines are dependent on rice imports, being one of the biggest rice importers in the world.

Philippines

Therefore, food security and raising incomes are overarching goals of the agricultural sector under the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011-2016. Toward these goals, the Department of Agriculture (DA) launched the Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP). The goal of the FSSP 2011-2016 is to achieve self-sufficiency in food staples.

Food security in the Philippines is closely linked to rice production. Rice provides 45% of the caloric intake of Filipinos. It accounts for 20% of the typical household’s budget. More than two million households are engaged in rice-based farming; millions more of farm laborers and tens of thousands of merchants depend on rice farming and trading for a living.

Public investments in key public goods including irrigation, R&D and extension have stagnated in the last two decades and will require beefing up. More resources are necessary but the effectiveness of investments and service delivery also needs improvement. An effective extension system that can spread knowledge, skills, and technology to farmers is critical to closing yield gaps.

At the local level, a key challenge is to mobilize agricultural extension workers (AEWs) employed by autonomous Local Government Units (LGUs) in provinces, cities, and municipalities. Low priority and inadequate funding have led to the deterioration of LGU-provided extension services. Mobilizing the private sector leverages limited public resources by marshalling additional financial resources and benefiting from synergies.

Towards these challenges the project aims to contribute to the vision of the PDP on a competitive, sustainable and technology-based agricultural sector supported by efficient value chains, which contributes to inclusive growth and poverty reduction.