Writer: Rojana Manowalailao, ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems
Interview with Chief of Crop Pest Management Division
Ms. Wilima Cuaterno talks to ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems about the agriculture sector in the Philippines, challenges, and necessary supports.
Agriculture sector in the Philippines
“Agriculture is the backbone of the Philippine economy. Rice is the most important crop since it is the major staple food of the Filipino people. However, the agriculture sector in the Philippines remain stagnant.
In some areas, some [farmers] are already using machine for crop production while others are still using animals or the conventional methods. The gauge of a successful political administration in the country is when it achieves rice sufficiency which until now is still far. It is principally because of the diseases of the society. People are not united and leaders have their own secret agenda.”
Issues and challenges in the agriculture sector in the Philippines
“Farmers need stable water supply in order to have continuous crop production. They need also harvest and seed storage to keep them secured and ready when needed. They need also funding to buy inputs for crop production. And, they need to be trained for them to be empowered and have the right decision in their farming business. They must know that farming is business and they need to be competitive.”
In the next ten years…
“I want to realize the vision of my agency which is “Sustainable Plant Industry Sector producing quality, safe, accessible, affordable and globally competitive crops profitable for the Filipinos.”
GIZ and its supports
“I think we need to improve radically in institutional and manpower capacity and capability. We need institutional development like modernization of diagnostic and biocontrol laboratories, training on the use of modern equipment, diagnostics, and mobility. Farmers and regional technicians come to us for technical information and advice. So, we want to be ahead so that we can respond to their needs.”