Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Augmenting PH Cattle Population

The Philippines Cattle Industry is the least developed in terms of technical, production and organization I the Agriculture Industry sector.

Declining cattle population in the Philippines has been noted since more than a decade ago and yet demand for beef continues to increase.

It must be acknowledged that since it is among the least developed sectors in agriculture, it needs to be upgraded. Currently, cattle raising is a privately held enterprise such as smallhold or backyard type of industry.

It is thus in need of technical assistance since most or 94% is of the backyard type. In ASEAN, the Philippines has the lowest growth rate in terms of cattle population, scoring a “negative” in growth in population rates.

The solution has been to import cattle from Australia and even India. Now, the Department of Agriculture is set to import cattle from Latin America. 

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) laid down guidelines that will allow the country to import the breeding materials.

The protocols have already been set by the OIE according to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol. This will enable the country to import cattle from Brazil and Argentina without violating foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) free without vaccination status policy.

“It would involve the quarantine of the cattle for six months in an area to be cleared by the OIE before the animals are shipped to the Philippines,” Piñol said.

“It would involve the quarantine of the cattle for six months in an area to be cleared by the OIE before the animals are shipped to the Philippines,” Piñol said.

“Since all animals in both countries receive mandatory FMD vaccination, the six-month quarantine will be enough time to determine whether the animals are healthy or not,” the DA secretary stated.

Private sector investors will be provided with an area and support by the DA for the establishment of the breeding program.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Extension of Access to High Seas Tuna Fishing Ground Sought by PH

The Philippines is one of the top Tuna producing countries in the world with 1.6 million people whose livelihood is dependent on the industry. Tuna remains the top export in the Philippine fishing industry sector contributing to 1.6% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Regulations in fishing for tuna in the high seas is monitored by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) to ensure continued economic fishing activities.

The access to fishing for tuna in high seas pocket – 1 was granted to the Philippines in 2013 and will expire this year. The rights granted was for 5 years.

The Philippines is now negotiating for an extension to access the high seas pocket- 1. “We are negotiating continued access to high seas pocket 1 and the current terms and conditions of the existing WCPFC conservation and management measures on tropical tunas,” Agriculture Undersecretary and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources national director Eduardo Gongona said. 

“We want at least five years. We have to generate income, employment, and economic activities. We would like to continue that situation and we will negotiate that with the commission,” the Usec added.

“We are committed to our tuna catch where 75 percent of that goes to export and 25 percent are processed here and all of these linkages mean income and employment for the Philippines,” Gongona disclosed.

The high seas pocket – 1 was opened in 2011 after a 2-year ban on tuna fishing in all 4 high seas – pockets due to the declining tuna population. The ban’s objective was to make the tuna population recover and then implement regulations so as to assure sustainability.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations cited that markets for tuna products continue to increase based on the growth of consumption in new regions of the world and the dissemination of sushi as a global dietary trend.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

DA to boost bangus production

The government needs to increase its budget to build more hatcheries nationwide to sustain the country’s demand for milkfish, the Department of Agriculture said.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said at least P30 million is needed to put up more than 30 hatcheries all over the country to increase local production.

Over the last two decades, the Philippines has become heavily dependent on imports of fry from Indonesia and Taiwan.

“We need at least 1.5 billion fry to just sustain the industry and more than two billion for it to grow. With the existing three hatcheries, we are barely producing 30 million fry a year which means that almost all our fry are being imported,” BFAR-National Inland Fisheries Technology Center chief Westly Rosario told reporters.

“But, the problem is imported fry has a survival rate of just 20 percent while locally-bred produce in our hatcheries is 80 percent,” he said.

The P30 million budget would be used for satellite hatcheries and the impact of the program can already be seen three years after.

However, this plan is unlikely to materialize anytime soon as the DA’s proposed budget for 2018 got a huge slash.

“Budget for technical centers has been lower. For the whole NIFTC, we will just be getting about P33 million and there are a lot of species. For milkfish alone, less than P3 million has been allocated,” Rosario said.

Studies showed that 20 years from now, the local demand for food would not come from crops, livestock and poultry, but from aquaculture.

“We have a huge coastal area compared to our land area therefore, that’s where we should focus. We need to support our aquaculture programs,” Rosario said.

Milkfish production managed to bounce back and record a nine percent increase to 110,000 metric tons in the second quarter, 99 percent of which comprised aquaculture.

The increase was attributed to improved stocking density from brackish water fishponds in Pampanga due to availability of quality milkfish fry, as well as bigger sizes of milkfish harvested.

By: Louise Maureen Simeon


Mango Industry to be Boosted by DA

Philippine Mangoes

In recent years, the production of Philippine mangoes continued to decline. Before mango production was at 1 million metric tons (MT) but currently, it has declined to as low as 600,000 MT. Mangoes have been one of the premium agricultural exports of the Philippines.

This was brought about by the infestation of the cecid fly that affected the top mango producing areas of the country.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is addressing the situations in the mango plantations starting in Davao del Sur.

The DA will commence with the rehabilitation of 110 hectares in the Davao region. In addressing the situation, the DA will be providing foliar and granulated fertilizers, flower inducers, insecticides, fungicides and even plastic crates to spur mango production.

DA High-Value Crops Development Program Regional Coordinator Melani Provideo stated, “The unproductive trees that will be rehabilitated should be at least 10 years old and above with location within the mango cluster areas.” 

“Farmers who intend to avail themselves of rehabilitation assistance must be accredited members of farmers organization or cooperative identified by the local government units,” Provideo also added.

Attendance of training will be required for the farmer-recipients of the program and the adoption of recommended technologies on mango production is another requirement. This includes appropriate fertilization and pruning and good agricultural practices.

Mango export volume has declined by more than 30% according to the Philippine Mango Exporters Foundation Inc. 

The DA is formulating a five-year master plan for the mango industry.

“We used to produce one million metric tons, now we are below 600,000 MT. It’s been going down 15 percent every year. Other countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico are already filling up the demand even with their less premium mangoes,” the Philippine Mango Exporters Foundation Inc. said.

WB Report: The Key to Mindanao Agri Growth: Connectivity

Agriculture in Mindanao

The infrastructure needed to link farm produce to markets in Mindanao has always been the bane of its development. Rich in natural resources, the infrastructure needed for harnessing its potential has been sorely lacking.

Way back in the Commonwealth era, the infrastructure plan was a combination of roads and railways. Unfortunately, WWII occurred and the resources needed for infrastructure development was siphoned off to rebuilding the country after the war.

Succeeding administrations have failed to address the situation and the current infrastructure in Mindanao has hampered its growth.

The World Bank in its Philippine Economic update emphasized the need to address the limited connectivity between the farmers to the markets. This will not only spur domestic development but also tap the foreign market potential for Mindanao’s agricultural products.

“Farmers are disconnected or misconnected with technical service providers, agro-enterprises, markets, and consumers, a problem that has multiple consequences. Many roads are in bad condition or congested, resulting in rejected agricultural produce, especially perishable commodities like bananas and other fruits and vegetables,” the World Bank report stated.

A seamless logistic network from farm to markets will require investments in infrastructures from the village to major roads. This will also induce more competition in the domestic shipping industry and with the new cabotage laws, the transport via domestic shipping will add to the fast and efficient conveyance of trade and merchandise. Port processes for import and export must also be streamlined.

“Lowering logistics costs would significantly benefit Mindanao’s agriculture value chains. An efficient logistics system is essential if Mindanao’s potential of becoming a global supplier of basic and value-added produce is to be realized,” the report noted.

The World Bank said there is an opportunity to expand the production of exportable agriculture products: aquatic, coffee and coconut products.

This involves linking farmers more closely with enterprises, as it is primarily agribusinesses that have the opportunity to differentiate or diversify product lines,” it added.

Increased productivity will reduce the prices of food and other commodities and improve the competitiveness of the agricultural sector.

PH Scientists Awarded by Japanese Scientific Forum

Philippine Nuclear Research Institute

A team of Filipino scientists that developed the Plant Food Supplement (PFS) via the using radiation technology was awarded the  2017 Excellent Research Team of the Year Award by the Japan-based Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia (FNCA).

The team from the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) garnered the award. 

The potential of the project in spurring the development of Philippine agriculture towards national food security was recognized by the Japanese government. Also, the project can help mitigate the effects of El Niño and climate change that ravage farmlands in the countryside.

The research team is led by Career Scientist Dr. Lucille Abad who heads DOST-PNRI’s Chemistry Research Section. With just 3.2 liters per hectare of water mixed with the right proportion of the PFS, the formulation was proven effective in increasing the yield of rice, mung bean, and other crops by over 20 percent. 

With the application of the PFS in field tests, it was determined that PFS enhanced resistance against tungro bacilliform virus and bacterial leaf blight. Further, fields sprayed with PFS had higher survival rate after a violent storm compared with nearby fields that were not treated with PFS. 

Launched in November 2015,  DOST started the widespread testing of PFS in Luzon, Panay Island, Zamboanga, and Davao. The experiments showed proof the advantages and benefits of PFS.

PFS is developed from carrageenan, a common industrial ingredient made from seaweeds. Subjecting to radiation the polymers of carrageenan it formed natural bioactive agents that can improve the health and increase the growth and yield of various crops.

Carrageenan has already been used as organic fertilizer in rice crops before but this is the first time that radiation exposure was utilized in enhancing its potentials. The carrageenan used for the PFS was irradiated at PNRI’s  Electron Beam Irradiation Facility in Diliman, Quezon City, the first and only facility of its kind in the country dedicated to semi-commercial services.

Eventually, several tons of PFS from PNRI was deployed for field test purposes and these were applied to thousands of hectares of rice fields in selected provinces of Regions 2 and 3, specifically in Tuguegarao, Cagayan, Ilagan, Isabela and in Pulilan, Bulacan.

Php30 million for Iloilo Agri Finance from DA

Dumangas, Iloilo. Photo courtesy of SEAFDEC

The Production Loan Easy Access Program has been made available to the Municipality of Dumangas and Passi City as part of the efforts of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in further spurring the development of agriculture in these localities. 

A Php30 million loan fund and Php10million loan fund for Dumangas and Passi City respectively will be made available for farmers and fishermen for the localities of Iloilo is expected wherein farmers and fishermen will be able to get financing amounting to Phpo5,000 to Php25,000 with no collateral requirements and will have a payable term of two years.

According to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol, the lending program will be available through local cooperatives and rural banks and the maturity will depend on the kind of agricultural commodity.

This will reduce the dependency of farmers on government subsidies and dole outs, and contribute to the administration’s target of reducing national poverty by the year 2022.

A grains processing complex for the milling, packaging, and marketing of Passi City’s produce, as well as a tissue culture laboratory and organic fertilizer processing facility, is also planned by the DA.

In Dumangas , 500 hectares of abandoned fishponds  wll be converted into mangrove replanting areas that will benefit  one of the richest oyster production areas of Panay Island. Protection of to fishponds, oyster farms and hatcheries is being backed by the DA to protect it against the construction of an environmentally and ecologically unsafe fuel depot in Dumangas. 

“I already signed an endorsement of the BFAR position paper to Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor. While the town is interested in inviting investors to come to the town, we should respect the position of the people who depend on the sea for their livelihood,” DA Secretary Pinol stated. 

Avian Influenza Outbreak: Not Likely from Migratory Birds

The recent outbreak of Avian Influenza in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija was not likely brought by migratory birds. This was disclosed by Carlo Custodio, a consultant of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB) said. 

In a roundtable discussion organized by the National Research Council last month, it was stated that migratory birds should not be automatically blamed for the spread of Avian Influenza. 

“Avian influenza in the Philippines is not traceable to migratory birds. Do not blame the migratory birds as they are victims, too (of the infection),”  Custodio said. 

Entitled “Avian Influenza – How do we Prevent its Entry and Spread: Policy Implications Towards Early Detection, Management and Mitigation,” the forum was held on last month at the Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros, Manila.

The first and last recorded incident of Avian Influenza was in 2006 and yet migratory birds have been annually migrating to the country from temperate climes. 

Custodio said that global multi-agency Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds had issued a statement against unjustly and unfairly blaming wild birds for AIV incidences around the world.

According to the Scientific Task Force’s statement, the H5N8 Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreaks are associated with intensive domestic poultry production. The statement was   issued last December 2016

The effect of the wrong attribution of Pathogenic Avian Influenza to migratory birds have resulted in mortality and conservation issues.

The task force has said that attributing the spread of HPAI viruses to wild birds has resulted in mortality and conservation issues.

“The specific role of wild birds particularly in the long-distance transmission of the virus, if existent, remains unclear,” Custodio disclosed and was based on  the task force’s Dec. 20, 1996 statement.

The outbreak led to the deaths of 34,000 chickens and another 500,000 were culled so as to prevent the spread of the virus to other poultry farms.

Standardized Mechanization Program Pushed by DA

100% National Rice Self-Sufficiency can be attained and that is why the Department of Agriculture is pushing for standardized mechanization in agriculture.

This particularly important in the rice-producing sector of agriculture since standardized mechanization will reduce post-harvest losses and would lead to the above-mentioned objective. The reduction in post-harvest losses will ameliorate the three million metric tons (MT) of rice losses annually.

 “Japan, for example, has a 16 percent mechanization rate while our country has only two percent mechanization rate. If we can lessen post-harvest loss by at least six to eight percent, we can already achieve rice sufficiency,” DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.

 “If we wish to help farmers increase their productivity and income, let’s give them the best, so we can also change their mindset,” the DA Secretary further added.

This standardized mechanization program will also be complemented by the use of high yielding hybrid rice varieties that will translate to increased production and higher quality of rice yields.

 “By simply planting hybrid rice on our farms, we can increase harvest and income. We don’t even have to expand production areas,” Piñol disclosed.

The objective is to increase the level of mechanization to 4-horsepower per hectare as what is standard in ASEAN countries according to the Philippine Center for Post-Harvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech). 

Currently, the average horse[power per hectare in the country is 3-horsepower per hectare.

According to PhilMech, a boost in the budget for mechanization will enable Filipino farmers to be at par with the farmers in Thailand and Vietnam, both rice exporting countries.

“Our new advocacy is to develop and commercialize the technologies where stakeholders will be the ones to tell us what they want and need, then we will address their concerns,” PhilMech stated.

Standardized Mechanization together with the use of hybrid rice varieties as adopted by farmers and agricultural cooperatives will make the target of National Rice Self-Sufficiency attainable soon.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

PeacePond: Sustainable Organic Farming

A 2-hectare organic farm in Binalbagan, Negros Occidental is proving the sustainability of best agricultural and environmental practices.

PeacePond rose from what was formerly a fishpond that dated back to the 1960s. The fishpond then used chemical fertilizers and is the direct opposite of what it is today. 

Typhoon Frank devastated the fishpond in 2008 and the farmers noted the environmental concerns that went with it. They then transformed the once chemical dependent fishpond into an organic, environmentally friendly farm with five fishponds.

The organic farm is surrounded by coconut trees which is included in the entire 5-hectare farm wherein the 2-hectare organic farm is located. One of the 5 ponds has been converted into a mangrove plantation.

PeacePond is a showcase of best practices in farming such as crop rotation, intercropping, ran shelter, terracing, and multi-cropping. Year-round crop rotation of vegetables and is based in the Calendar for planting provided by the Department of Agriculture. 

One of the notable features of the farm is its Zero-Carbon Footprint for its irrigation system. Not using electric pumps for water distribution, PeacePond utilizes recycled bicycle parts in delivering water to 3 reservoir drums to 40 vegetable plots. Also, a rain catchment drums are utilized in providing water to the Organic Food Garden and the Organic Fertilizer Production.

Fertilizers are produced from agricultural wastes that are also used for pesticides, rodenticides, and compost.  

PeacePond also manufactures its own vinegar from coconut so as to utilize his important component in making pesticides as well as using natural insect repellents such as lemongrass in insect and pest control. 

PeacePond also conducted eco-tours that were undertaken last October 2016 to July 2017. The harvest from PeacePond includes the following:

1. Coconuts
2. Copra
3. Bangus
4. Virgin Coconut Oil
5. Vegetables
6. CocoSugar
7. Vermicast
8. CRH

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

PH Rice Must Be More Competitive – PhilRice

Rice at Php 27 – Php31 per kilo. That is the price of Vietnamese and Thai imported rice without the Quantitative Restrictions imposed on it. This is a looming fact when the ASEAN economic integration eventually is implemented.

This will obviate efforts for national rice self-sufficiency and will further impoverish rice farmers in the country.

In order to do this, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) disclosed that a national average of 6 metric tons (MT) per hectare must be the yield of Filipino rice farms with a cost of production of Php8.00 per kilo. 

Local current production costs are at the Php12.00 per kilo and yield per hectare is only at 6 MT.

 “With the ASEAN integration, the Philippines is confronted with a different economic scenario. Targeting rice self-sufficiency is no longer enough,” PhilRice senior socio-economist Flordeliza Bordey said.

It would entail strategic government intervention in the medium term to make the industry and Filipino farmers more competitive.

Higher yield per hectare and reduced production costs would result in higher revenues for Filipino farmers and sustainable rice farms.

“This scenario is favorable to consumers, especially for poor families, but this will have a negative impact on the income of rice farmers as lower prices of imported rice will also reduce the price of locally-produced rice,” Bordey said.

Financing for farmers at low-interest rates for farm inputs can be provided by the government and use of hybrid seeds with higher yields are recommended.

This will be complemented by more efficient marketing methods and more machine-intensive farming practices that will also be part of the government program.

 “Farmers who incur higher production costs and are farming in less favorable areas where it is more difficult to increase rice yields, may go out of the rice business,” Bordey said, emphasizing that the  government should provide safety nets.

Also, programs for farmers to plant crops that are more conducive to their geographical locations, livelihood trainings and diversified skills trainings will benefit the farmers.

PH Poultry Industry Recovering

The resiliency of the country’s poultry industry is now showing. This is despite the avian influenza outbreak in Pampanga last August 2017. 

This was disclosed by the Samahan ng Industriyan Agrikultura (SINAG) Chairperson Rosenda So. 

Citing that prices of poultry have returned to normal and that sales have been also normal.

The only factor left is that the sale of oversized chickens has yet to normalize. These were left in freezers during the crisis and that consumer behavior preferred chickens that never exceed 1 kilo. This was cited since it is more consumers prefer to buy those weighing 1 kilo due to budget constraints.

The poultry industry was hit by avian influenza that necessitated the quarantine of San Luis, Pampanga when 3 poultry farms registered 100% mortality in their farms due to the avian influenza epidemic.

This also resulted in the prohibition of shipping poultry from Luzon to other islands in the country. This resulted in the live weight of chicken being sold to as low as Php32.00 per kilo during the time.

The Department of Agriculture  9DA) and the Department of Health (DOH) quickly managed the outbreak and has prevented the spread of the epidemic.

It was also determined that the flu strain does not affect humans. But still, quarantine procedures were effected so as to prevent the spread of the outbreak.

In a show of support for the poultry industry, even President Rodrigo Duterte partook of chicken meals so as to assuage fears that poultry products are dangerous.

Nevertheless, 200,000 chickens, birds, and other fowls were culled in the affected areas. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Experimental Integrated Farm in Northern Luzon

An experimental integrated farm is being developed in Northern Luzon. The 10-hectare farm will be one of the first such integrated farms in the country. 

Tha main feature of the integrated farm is that it will harvest fruits and crops the whole year round. Unlike traditional farms, it is not subjected to 2 farming cycles. The integrated farm will have vegetables as well as fruit trees that will provide a year-round harvest for the farm.

Already, the farm has planted vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, eggplants, ampalaya (bitter gourd), as well as spices like onions and garlic, sili, sitaw and kalabasa.
Sitaw Poles

Aside from the vegetable, fruit trees have already been planted that is projected to yield harvests of mangoes, lanzones, grapes, Dragon Fruit, Durian, Rambutan and other fruit bearing trees. Legumes such as peanuts have also been planted.

The technological advantage is that it has 3 deep wells for irrigation that will be wholly powered by solar panels to be installed in the far, experimental wind driven turbines are also being considered for its off-grid power supply. Also, newly developed monitoring systems for measuring soil moisture and even rain forecasting equipment will be part of an integrated monitoring system. 

Aside from fruits and vegetables, livestock such as goats, carabaos, and cows are already in the experimental farm. 

The first harvest is expected this October 2017 and a cycle of 3 months harvest for the vegetables is expected.

The current experimental location for the fruit bearing trees is 800 square meters.

Also, a golf driving range is already existing in the development.

Lanzones seedlings ready for planting

Why Indonesian rural folks are better off than their Filipino counterparts

In 1998, the income per capita of Indonesia was $680 at current prices versus $1,050 for the Philippines, 54% higher. In 2015, it was $3,350 for the former, and $2,900 for the latter, only 13% lower (World Bank Development Report).

In 1987, the total poverty at the national poverty line for Indonesia was 17.4%, with rural poverty at 16.4%. The 1994 figures for the Philippines were 40.6% and 53.1%. By the 2010s, Indonesia’s total poverty was 11.3% with rural poverty at 14.2% (2014). The Philippine numbers fell too but remained very high at 21.6% and 30% in 2015 

Why is rural poverty in the Philippines persistently high? It is because of underdeveloped agriculture. There are four metrics to compare: total factor productivity growth, specific crop productivity, crop diversification, and agri-food exports. Average farm size in the Philippines was 1.29 ha (2012 Census). Those in Indonesia average less than one hectare with most in the 0.5 to 1.0 ha range.


During 2001-2013, total factor productivity (TFP), an overall measure of agri efficiency, rose by 2.65% a year for Indonesia and 1.87% for the Philippines. The numbers were derived from the difference between agri production growth and agri inputs growth. The Philippines lagged in both output and input growth. The gap with Indonesia in TFP was about 10% over 13 years (see Table 2).


Of the 15 crops common to both countries, Indonesia was ahead of the Philippines with 13. On the four major crops -- rice, corn, coconut, and sugarcane -- Philippine productivity underperformed.

Indonesia is the highest-cost rice producer compared to India, Vietnam, Thailand, China, and the Philippines, in that order (IRRI/Philrice Study, 2015). It is a net-importer (see Table 3).


Indonesian agriculture is highly diversified. Considering the 15 crops, the three top crops accounted for 67% of total areas for Indonesia as compared to 86% for the Philippines. As to the five top crops, the corresponding numbers were 84% and 92%, respectively.

Of the eight main crops for Indonesia, six of these were heavily export-oriented: oil palm, rubber, coconut, cacao, coffee, and cassava. By contrast, there were only three for the Philippines, of which only one is export-oriented: coconut. 


In 2015, Indonesia’s agri-exports reached $33 billion (B) as compared to about $5B for the Philippines. The former had six products with over $1-billion export a year versus two for the Philippines. For all products that earned $250 million or more a year: Indonesia had 22 versus only five for the Philippines. On per hectare basis, Indonesia exports 2.4 times more at $880 per hectare versus $370 per hectare for the Philippines.

What is so important about agri-food exports, which some sectors discount as poor development strategy? Exports expand markets and, therefore, raise incomes and job opportunities for the poor. Competition brings innovation and crop selection. Focusing on the domestic market alone severely limits market-product size, diversity, and competitiveness.


The widely read book Why Nations Fail by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) economist Daron Acemoglu and Harvard political scientist James Robinson (2012) showed that political and economic institutions underlie economic success. The authors theorized that there are two types. “Extractive” institutions exist when a “small” group of individuals exploit the rest of the population. “Inclusive” institutions include “many” people in the process of governing.

To paraphrase Thomas Friedman, a noted writer:

“Inclusive economic institutions enforce property rights, create a level playing field, and encourage investments in new technologies and skills are more conducive to economic growth than extractive economic institutions that are structured to extract resources from the many by the few."

Conversely, extractive political institutions that concentrate power in the hands of a few reinforce extractive economic institutions to hold power.

Why is the Philippine rural poverty incidence more than twice that of Indonesia’s? 

First, the political elite has long tolerated that rice self-sufficiency is the gold standard of success of any administration, and not rural poverty reduction. Among others, this led to long-term neglect of tree-crops development, especially coconut. Add to that aquaculture.

Second, the rural development institutions have been weakened by the sustained discontinuities in programs, constant changes in personnel, and promotion by political connections. It has demoralized the bureaucracy and severely failed to attract young talents. They faltered in tracking program impact on poverty reduction.

Third, the general lack of appreciation of strong research, development and extension service. Farmers need new techniques to increase incomes and be competitive. The 25-year municipality-based (not province-based) extension system is a monumental failure.

Fourth, land distribution is the overriding development goal, and not investments that will create products in the competitive market, promote robust agri-manufacturing that, in turn, create stable jobs.

The article reflects the personal opinion of the author and does not reflect the official stand of the Management Association of the Philippines or the M.A.P.

Rolando T. Dy is the Vice-Chair of the M.A.P. AgriBusiness and Countryside Development Committee, and the Executive Director of the Center for Food and AgriBusiness of the University of Asia & the Pacific.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Smart Manage your Poultry Farm

The recent Avian Flu outbreak in Pampanga has brought the urgency to have better farm monitoring and management solutions. Technology together with traditional farm techniques must be brought together to gain further productivity and safety for both poultry and livestock and also with farm workers and owners.

In the Philippines, a Farm Management Solution was developed by a startup from the University of the Philippines. The system is called Farm Watch. 

Farm Watch features systems that include the following:

1. Essential Poultry Farm Monitoring System
2. Remote Monitoring
3. Emergency SMS Warnings and Critical Status Reports
4. Free Data Representation and Analysis Tools
5. Easy to Install and Configure System Operation
6. Has Back-up Power System
7. Modular, upgradeable and Extendable

It also has no need for farm-installed internet connection for remote monitoring since it is based on SMS updates and reports.

The system is composed of a wireless sensor hub, a remote hub and sensors installed in a standard 160m X 36m poultry building. There are six sensors installed in 1 building.

Farm Watch sensors monitor 3 critical aspects in a poultry building:


1. Temperature
2. Relative Humidity
3. Carbon Dioxide levels 
4. Ammonia levels

Health and Consumption

1. Weight
2. Feeds
3. Water


1. Fly Count
2. Hydrogen Sulfide levels

These will enable the farmers and workers to be given data critical to the above-mentioned aspects of a poultry farm.

Farm Watch contact numbers are (+632) 981-8500 local 3363

Farm Watch conducts free farm assessment. Farm Watch office is located at 3F NEC Building, UP Diliman, Quezon City

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Avian Flu Outbreak in Pampanga

For the first time since the Asian Avian Flu epidemic in the early 2000s, the Philippines has its initial case of Bird Flu. The municipality of San Luis, Pampanga is the ground zero for the outbreak and an estimated 34,700 birds and fowls have already been registered as the first casualties.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Pinol in cooperation with the Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Pauline Ubial has declared a 1-kilometer radius quarantine area in Barangay San Carlos and Sta. Rita, San Luis, Pampanga. The quarantine affecting the declared area means that all ingress and egress will be restricted.

A 7-kilometer radius that is designated as a “controlled area” will require disinfection of all vehicles coming out from within the radius.

According to the DA Secretary, the quarantine will remain in force for 90 days. 

All birds and fowl numbering 200,000 within the quarantined area will be culled and buried in a designated area that has been deemed the proper place for the disposal of the affected birds.

Also, the DA announced that no bird or fowl will be allowed to be marketed out of Luzon Island, the biggest island in the Philippines. In relation to this, Governor of Pampanga Province, Lilia Pineda has declared a State of Calamity in the province.

The DOH with the Regional Institute of Regional Medicine (RITM) confirmed that the virus identified as the H5 strain and all specimens submitted will have a result in 48 hours.  The H5 strain has a known 100% mortality rate in infected birds and fowls.

As this developed, the DOH accordingly has sent specimens to Australia to confirm what N strain the virus has. By discovering the N strain, it can then be determined if the viral outbreak can be transferred to humans as in the case of H5N1 and H6N1 virus strains. The results are expected within 2 weeks of testing.

The DA and DOH, however, stressed that as of now, there are no reported cases of the infection spreading to humans as evidenced by the workers and owners of the poultry farms that remain asymptomatic to Avian Flu disease.

The reports started last August 3 when 3 poultry farms had their entire chicken population die from as of yet undetermined disease and infestation at that time. By August 4, 2017, an investigation has already been started and the deployment of 90 quarantine officers together with policemen commenced. The DA and DOH are as of now conducting monitoring operations in the areas concerned.

The next step will be to introduce sentinel animals into the area to determine if the infections still exist and further protocols for controlling the outbreak will be undertaken.

The DA stated that the chickens affected by the outbreak are layers which mean that only egg production will be affected but no disruption in fresh eggs supply will be experienced in the markets.

The outbreak was first noted in late April 2017, when quails started dying off and then ducks we also affected. But these were largely unreported to authorities.

 The DA assured that chicken meat supply is still safe but strict monitoring is being implemented. 

Workers in the area are being provided by the DA and DOH so as to ensure their safety. Also, the DA stated that it has two theories how the infections occurred since it started with quails and ducks and Pampanga is known for its Candaba Swamp where migratory birds from Mainland Asia seasonally stay. The other theory is that imported ducks were the source.  


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