Weathering the Crises, Feeding the Future

Philippine Food Justice Report

Publication date: 28 October 2011
Author: Jeanne Frances Illo, economist and Research Associate, Women and Gender Institute of Miriam College; and Dante Dalabajan, policy and research officer for Oxfam in the Philippines

At the height of the food price crisis in 2008, the Philippines was among the countries with ‘severe localized food insecurity’, requiring external assistance in food. A series of severe weather-related events in 2009 damaged the economy, costing more than twice the national budget for agriculture that year. In 2010, rice imports reached an all-time high, making the Philippines the biggest rice importing country in the world that year.

There are 94 million Filipinos today – 4 million more than in 2008. The population is expected to continue to grow by about 2 million a year. The domestic food chain – from farm to table – is under great pressure, corroded by years of neglect.

Changes in the use of agricultural land, the degradation of ecosystems and the impacts of climate change are increasing the food production burden on agricultural communities in the Philippines. These challenges have together made the Philippines more vulnerable to global food price volatility.

'Weathering the Crises, Feeding the Future' examines the issues confounding the Philippine food system and sets out recommendations for a new agricultural future in which Filipinos have enough to eat, always.

Key recommendations from the report:

  • Public and private spending on smallholder agriculture must increase to levels that can unleash the productive potential of farming and coastal communities.
  • Public spending and policy innovations must be put in place to ensure that climate change adaptation programs are crafted early and implemented for, with, and by vulnerable communities.
  • Social protection programs must be developed to strengthen the role of women in villages and the market.
  • The conversion of productive agricultural lands for purposes other than food production should cease.