Scientists Call for Thoroughgoing Reforms to Resolve Rice Crisis

Cosico further said that 56.53 percent of farms are operated through manual labor; and 78 percent of the 4.61 million hectares of agricultural land in 1991 are divided into farmlands constituting less than 3 hectares each.

Cosico said that there was a three percent decrease in the number of farm areas in the past decade due to land use conversion. In Southern Tagalog, for example, more than 1.30 million hectares of agricultural land are under conversion while 172, 967.30 hectares have already been converted to real estate.

Cosico said that while the government uses modernization as byword in its policies on agriculture, the government is not actually modernizing agriculture.

She cited the Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) and the Medium Term Development Plan, supposedly the government’s program for modernization. Under these programs, the catchwords are “food security, agricultural mechanization, rural development and global competitiveness.”

Under the AFMA, Cosico explained, food security is to be achieved through importation instead of increasing local rice production. With regards agricultural mechanization, she said that she has not seen anything concrete yet that has improved technical efficiency in farms.

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