The Philippines, a tropical archipelago with 7,100 islands, covers a land area of 30 million ha. Of this, 15.8 million ha is classified as forest lands and 14.2 million ha as farm lands.
With the highly unequal distribution of ownership, about 8.1 million ha of these lands was the target of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, with 3,825,142 farmer beneficiaries from 1972 to 2005. The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) report a total completion of 6.4 million ha, or 79% of the target during the period.
Philippine agriculture is viewed as a combination of small, medium, and large farms, with rice, maize, coconut, sugar, livestock, and poultry as the dominant products. The 2002 agriculture census reports 4.8 million farms in the country, covering 9.7 million ha of land. Most of the farms are small, with 2 ha per farm on average. These are predominantly conventional farms ranging from subsistence to commercial production and utilizing high yielding varieties and livestock breeds and extensive synthetic chemical inputs. Seasonal indebtedness is endemic in smallholdings.
Agriculture plays a substantial role in the economy, being the single biggest productive sector, with direct employment reaching 11.63 million in 2005, or 36% of the country’s total employment. If all agricultural and agriculture-related jobs are considered, the sector accounts for as much as 70% of total employment. Its contribution to GDP in 2005 was about 19%; but if all agriculture-related activities and food produced for subsistence are considered, this increases to 75%.
The agriculture sector is typically described as in crisis, with a significant decrease in productivity, high production costs, and low government support as major trends.
Status of organic farming
The organic industry is considered to be in its formative years, and there is no single, integrated organic sector. With government support (i.e. education, research, and extension) still principally for conventional agriculture, organic agriculture has been in the hands of the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and people’s organizations or cooperatives. Scattered across the country are small-scale and non-governmental projects and initiatives.
There also is no aggregate study on the scope of organic agriculture in the Philippines. Data are mostly derived from case studies prepared by development NGOs and their partners. The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources and Development (PCARRD) estimates that as of 2005, the land area under organic management in the Philippines was 3,500 ha, with about 500 organic farms.
Nonetheless, the information gathered by the NGO MASIPAG from its member organizations reveals that as of 2005, there were about 6,099 farmers who were fully adopting organic rice and maize farming on about 4,217 ha of land. According to the combined data from PCARRD and MASIPAG, 6,599 farms/farming households with 7,717 ha managed organically account for less than 1% of the agriculture sector and of the total combined area of rice and maize land.
Domestic organic crops such as rice, maize, vegetables, and root crops are largely produced by small-scale farmers. Their farming systems are usually more diversified and are integrated with a few head of livestock (pigs, goats, carabaos, cows, and chickens). Organic farming inputs such as fertilizers, foliar sprays, and microbial soil preparations are sourced and made from local indigenous materials.
Meanwhile, organic crops for export are mainly bananas, mangos, coffee and sugarcane, and are largely produced through grower arrangements among community-based organizations, agricultural cooperatives and development NGOs or private corporations/associations. Agribusiness companies usually employ single crop cultivation and use commercial organic fertilizers and inputs.
Philippines Early Development
Early Market Development in the PhilippinesRegulatory Framework for Organic in the Philippines
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