How should Philippine food security be addressed?

“An army marches on its stomach.” is one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s most popular quotes. Even with his prowess as a highly capable commander and strategist, the French emperor himself had recognized that a country’s military power projection greatly relies on its capacity to feed its armed forces. With France as the most significant great power in the European continent after the conclusion of the French revolution, possession of a strong military was paramount to a country’s survival. This importance is highlighted with Vienna, Berlin, London, and Saint Petersburg becoming uneasy with Paris’s ambitions at the time. Nevertheless, history has never failed in providing examples supporting Bonaparte’s words.

The history of human civilizations is blighted by hunger and famine. Whether these were caused by natural calamities or by man-made failures, such situations tested leaders, nation-states, and their corresponding institutions. Food scarcity equates to absolute poverty and a hungry society foments social discontent and disorder. As a result, political volatility and uncertainty blankets the whole country. If both the state and the society created formidable institutions to promptly respond at such junctures, its citizens would be left relatively unscathed. If not, people are left to fight hunger all by themselves. Luckily, international organizations consider famine a serious humanitarian crisis. This can be observed currently in Afghanistan and Yemen, for example, where attempts to alleviate those horrifying conditions are being made. However, there were numerous instances where millions of lives were wasted due to starvation, which was experienced in British India, the Soviet Union, and the People’s Republic of China.

During the colonial rule of the British, Raj Indians experienced a series of famines that famished millions of their residents, specially considering that the agricultural yields of India were highly dependent on weather patterns. Because of prolonged hunger, malnutrition was a perennial social problem and dented British Hindustan’s economic potential. With lowered financial yields due to these famines, British colonists were compelled to raise taxes on peoples who had virtually no means to feed themselves. In turn, this created a cycle of famine erupting from one place to another on the Indian subcontinent. In addition, the intense caste system, which disenfranchised the “dalits”, more popularly known as the “untouchables”, didn’t afford the strengthening of state powers. As what Acemoglu and Robinson had mentioned in their book The Narrow Corridor, the aforementioned system kept British India in its cage of norms.

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Another instance of severe food insecurity was observed in the Soviet Union. Before Nazi Germany started annexing its neighbors, Josef Stalin put into action a massive reformation of economic and political institutions. With Russia recovering from its civil war wounds, which witnessed the victory of the Bolsheviks over the White Russians, Stalin embarked on five-year plans to industrialize the country. The plans set lofty objectives, including a revamped agrarian policy of collectivization, which gave rise to “kolkhozes” and “sovkhozes”, specially that food redistribution was performed by the central government. As a result, famine in the fertile lands of Ukraine were experienced. The “Holodomor” led to a significant population decline in the Soviet Ukraine, while the state continued engaging in the confiscation of food from its people. To make matters worse, the communists’ failures in agriculture didn’t end there, as Mao Zedong too was keen on adopting such draconian policies.

For the People’s Republic of China, Chairman Mao Zedong spearheaded the execution of the Great Leap Forward. This government policy had the noble intention of rapidly industrializing the Chinese economy. However, the devil is always in the details. Peasants were compelled to surrender their ploughs, sickles, and other agricultural tools to manufacture steel in poorly-constructed backyard furnaces. In addition, sparrows were eradicated with the initial thought that these birds largely consume grains, which resulted in an ecological imbalance. Even with granaries running low, Beijing still engaged in exporting their grains in exchange for foreign currencies in the global market. These multiple whammies impacted the Chinese peasantry the most, with the crisis taking millions of lives.

Failing to address food security creates political, economic, and social repercussions. Thus, creating policies that provides food on the table in every household is of great importance. This dilemma can be addressed by improving two significant fronts vis-à-vis food security. They are food availability and accessibility.

Food availability can be addressed by increasing food supply, where the government can employ agricultural policies and land reforms that can make food production more efficient and cost-effective. Adopting newer technologies in the fields of animal husbandry and agronomy, and constructing extensive irrigation systems would enfranchise local farmers and ranchers. Also, securing their property rights will relieve these producers of uncertainty. Following the law of supply and demand, an increase in food supply would lead to lower prices, making food more affordable to ordinary people. On the other hand, food accessibility refers to the ease of obtaining such products. Promoting reliable infrastructure programs to construct roads, bridges, seaports, and airports that interconnect producers with consumers, and sellers with buyers will contribute significantly to eliminating the need for middlemen to manipulate the prices of basic commodities. Solid logistical operations in transporting fruits, vegetables, grains, and livestock will ensure that no food goes to waste as they reach the marketplace.

However, the reality is highly discouraging since there are internal and external threats to Philippine food security. Internal threats, which are linked to the country’s frail sociopolitical structures, include the faulty agrarian reform program and businesses and oligarchs that engage in predatory methods to disenfranchise farmers. The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) is a land redistribution policy of the government that grants agricultural lands to its beneficiaries and ideally, land reform must be finished in a few years. However, with the landed gentry amassing power and wealth, these farmers end up as casualties of serfdom. Even if they are awarded with hectares of land, there are still limited means in incentivizing these farmers to become entrepreneurs of their own lands. This problem is further exacerbated when large businesses purchase these newly transferred agricultural lands and transform them to commercial, industrial, or residential lands. No wonder why many lowly farmers become gullible victims of “armed struggle” that these communist insurgents advocate. Aside from these threats, external threats present in the global market, where uncertainty of the Ukrainian crisis pushes the prices of agricultural commodities up, which includes fertilizers and livestock feeds in the form of corn and soybean, makes food security a daunting task. The actions of Beijing through COSCO also don’t look promising as they have been stockpiling various grains for many months.

Indeed, addressing food availability and accessibility in the Philippines is a confusing, multi-faceted challenge. Politicians advocating government involvement in these community pantries are only promoting band-aid solutions that produce limited output and are unsustainable. The country’s next chief executive must find methods in balancing economics and agriculture, and should have the political willpower in executing a better food security policy. It is on the hands of the electorate if we are to answer the challenges of food security, or not.

55 Replies to “How should Philippine food security be addressed?”

  1. When I went to Busuanga/Coron, I saw a lot of cattle roaming outside the airport. When we asked the van driver and/or guide they always tell us it was actually imported Australian Cattle that Marcos planned to try and compete for local and foreign markets. The plan (supposedly) was to also have the processing of those cattle in Coron Island before it is shipped out but the processing plant never materialized. I can’t recall if the reason they stated was it being due to People Power. Now, those same cattle are bought cheap by other companies for their export.

    So, I am wondering, what was the overall grand master plan for food self sufficiency and export during FM’s term. Just wondering what were all the plans the started rolling but were halted on argi side. Halted not just because of People Power but of corruption during his own term.

    I doubt that “grand plan” can be repeated as program continuity is not possible in our current political climate, plus self interest groups vying to make sure they have a slice of the pie.

  2. The current administration and the MSM are not talking about this.
    One of the world’s top food magnates is warning that we’re “on the precipice of a global food crisis”
    Goya Foods CEO Bob Unanue warned on Tuesday that the world is on the brink of a food crisis.

    Speaking on “Mornings with Maria,” he also argued that the world has “weaponized food.”

    “We are on the precipice of a global food crisis,” the CEO told host Maria Bartiromo. …
    As it pertains to a potential food shortage in America, Unanue said the U.S. will likely dodge that threat given “we have abundance” and “are the biggest consumers in the world.”

    “The countries that will suffer are the innocent ones in Africa and around the globe,” he continued.

    This stems from Russia being provoked by the US and NATO, and the lockdowns in Shanghai and Beijing.

  3. Russia was NOT “provoked by the US and NATO.” Why would you say something so stupid, when it is obvious that Putin is trying to reassemble the Soviet Union?

    1. Well, I beg to differ, there are two sides to every story.

      I bet Aeta, like Mr. Lynch, did not consider both sides of the narratives before forming their own conclusions. Too bad that Russia’s Putin is being portrayed as the mad man for invading Ukraine while they totally ignored America’s war offensive to the rest of the world?

      (No excuse! Invading a foreign country can’t be justified. But there’s this latin adage, SI VIS PACEM, PARA BELLUM which means if you want peace, prepare for war.)

      America, as an aggressor in the past has either invaded or militarily fought in 84 out of 193 countries of the world.

      https://airwars.org/news-and-investigations/tens-of-thousands-of-civilians-likely-killed-by-us-in-forever-wars/

      A former Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom even declared, ‘You killed a million people in Iraq’.

      And Mr. Zelenskyy himself isn’t clean as the West wants to portray him to be especially with his war in Donbas, a historical, cultural, and economic region in southeastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s war with its own people running for eight years. Will the western-allied media allowed the world to see suffering of the people there?

      Did NATO push Ukraine into war?

      1. You are what you think. “As a man thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.”

        Why the West is winning the Information War

        1. I don’t believe it either.

          Ukraine is portrayed as a victim in the Western media and gets all kinds of support from Western countries. But it’s poisoned nationalism has gone bad! The phenomenon of Ukraine nationalism has morphed into fascism. The result of all the effort is to reshape historical consciousness. And in the process, it’s citizens suffer.

          The meddling West don’t really care if the people fight each other and destroy the country in a civil war for their own sake.

          I can’t help it. There seems to be some sort of parallelism between with what’s happening in Ukraine and how the West, especially the US, the world’s most meddlesome nation, continue to operate here in the Philippines (in other parts of the world too), meddling in our state affairs, in our elections, against the Marcoses (not being rightfully treated as an ally), just to protect their interest in this part of the world, in Asia.

          There’s a manipulated Russo-phobia in Ukraine and here, it’s an instigated Marcos-phobia.

          Here’s a superb documentary film “Maidan: Road to War” from RT.

          “Maidan: Road to War was shot from 2014 to 2022, as the DNR and LNR territory was subjected to daily shelling from Ukraine. The film delves into the 2014 situation in Ukraine and pieces together the course of events. The film wants to draw the attention of the Ukrainian authorities to the shelling and the deaths of civilians in the Donbass, but the government didn’t respond.”

          https://rtd.rt.com/films/maidan-road-to-war/

      2. “America, as an aggressor in the past has either invaded or militarily fought in 84 out of 193 countries of the world.” – Neo
        ==========
        So, what’s that got to do with Ukraine? They are not the aggressor there, they did not invade the country. Is your point, the US is bad, hence, Russia has a right to be bad too?

        Enlighten me, please. ?

  4. A country that can’t solve its housing issue is no way going to be able to solve its food issue.

    The country continues to build inefficient homes that will be ruined in the next typhoon. It just doesn’t make sense.

    The food issue is extremely complex as the land and soil is difficult in many parts of the country. Fish farms and fish pens are a good solution as they are much more efficient than cow / pork / chicken. Also rabbit is more efficient than those 3. Essentially it will come down to efficiency and the government should support programs that are efficient, but I doubt they will do that.

  5. LOL nothing about how agriculture was destroyed during Marcos time?

    Why don’t you do research on the negros famine?

    1. Well, care to explain it in your own words? Go ahead, tell us what you know about Negros Famine. Whataboutisms is getting too old.

      1. @gman I’m going to pull off a benigno special and say do your own research.

        Google is free

        1. As expected. You knew you have nothing to put on the table. Putting something like “what about this and that” without even giving at least a summary based on what you want to argue on..only to put “research that thing on your own” because you’re that lazy. That’s it, it’s just whataboutisms in the end but what do I expect to someone who just shouts Benign0 and the usual “I Hate Marcos” all the time. Tsk tsk.

        2. I guess I’ll just a give you a TLDR on that, since you can’t even bother to read and understand a single article. The reason why Negros famine happened and got worse is because of CPP-NPA being a headache as always while Benedicto, a Marcos Crony who has a gambling addiction and chose to bet on sugars made a huge decline on the sugar production which contributes to the famine a bit, Marcos himself has nothing to do about it, that’s just one of his cronies being corrupt. You can’t just solely blame Marcos because of “B-but he was the president at that time!” argument to support of whatever hate-propaganda you have on him, it was Benedicto alone. So, in the end Benedicto causes it, CPP-NPA worsen the hunger situation of Negros. That’s about it.

        3. The only “special” a spoiled child can pull is the pacifier out of his mouth, to babble more obscene stupidity that most GRP readers ignored anyway. So why bother?

        4. @gman like benigno always says I don’t want to spoon feed you the facts.

          The problem with you is your lazy. You sit and wait with your mouth open and wait for the apple to fall. Like Juan tamad. Isn’t that right benigno the CLOWN?

          But looking at your reply your even worse. Because not even waiting for the Apple. You choose to eat the shit on tiktok. Like a filthy human centipede.

          Do proper research pls. Use credible sources. Not just tiktok

        5. @gman your so dumb you even answered your own question

          Benedicto is a Marcos crony. So it’s not Marcos fault?

          Well pnoy didn’t cause Any of the issues he gets blamed for unfairly because that was all mar roxas and the other cabinet.

          Hahaha you are such a pea brain. No wonder you hangout in GRP and support BBM. It’s pretty obvious the poor education system has affected because ang bobo bobo mo grabe.

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        6. @Darth mortis the wise

          Oh boy, here we go again…With ad hominems. If you knew the “facts” then where’s your source? Cite one. Why you can’t explain it? Because you didn’t do diligence? Let me give me you a hint and where I find my source?

          Here: https://www.esquiremag.ph/long-reads/features/negros-famine-of-the-1980s-a00289-20210415-lfrm2

          I don’t go to a Tiktok like you, Darth. I explained my understandings and I’m not even defending Marcos as I’m trying to be objective here. Unlike you who commits “Guilt by association” Please, try not go off-topic by bringing up Pnoy and Mar Roxas here as they have their own separate issues. We’re talking about Negros Famine. Stay on-topic, Darth.

        7. @Darth mortis the wise

          “Hahaha you are such a pea brain. No wonder you hangout in GRP and support BBM. It’s pretty obvious the poor education system has affected because ang bobo bobo mo grabe.”

          Edukado ka nga pero mas masahol ka sa walang pinag-aralan. Sayang yung pampa-aral sayo, boy. Real talk lang.

        8. @g-dumbman

          I am using simple baby logic against you. You say that Marcos personally did not cause the negros famine but his cronies did. So Marcos was not at fault

          So are you saying hitler was innocent because by your dumb logic he was not the one driving the trains to the concentration camp?

          Uno-reverso!!! Obviously Marcos and hitler committed atrocities. You are dumb for even arguing otherwise.

          Simple logic lang po. Pwede magisip isip naman pls. No wonder we are falling so far from Thailand Ang bobo kasi ng 60% of pinoys who like BBM

          More like LBM on the country. Am I right? Lol

        9. @Darth mortis the wise

          Yeah, technically. Just because you’re a leader doesn’t mean you know what your subordinates are doing 24 hours, unless you’re all-seeing God. Oh please, don’t try to compare Hitler’s Nazism to Marcos Iron Fist Rule, Nazism is just driven by ideology while the Iron Fist is just a reaction to terrorist uprising. Get it, Darth? Marcos did have a flaw in his iron fist rule but here you are just blaming Marcos without knowing the REAL root cause. Just admit it, you’re just here to take jab at Marcos at every opportunity you get and when someone says “positive” on someone you don’t like, you just hurl insults. You can call BBM names or whatever you want, I don’t care, I didn’t vote for him in the first place.

    2. Hark! The spoiled toddler is awake, hungry, and crying again. This time babbling something obscene about agriculture, which he knows nothing about, because he has yet to be weaned from baby formulas. Someone please stick a pacifier in his mouth to keep him quiet, until his mother finishes making him a fresh bottle so he can go back to sleep.

    1. Megget,

      That’s probably where this “spoiled’ idiot gets his nutrients from to keep spewing those stupid obscenity on GRP. These elitist Yellowtards have always spewed a lot of stupid propaganda, to distract and confuse, and the oppositions have already figured out their “modus operandi.” A lot of what these elitist wannabes say are just your “run-of-the-mill” citations from their Yellow propaganda anyway, which have no direct bearing with reality, to try to impress and hide their ignorance on what’s really going on in the Philippines and its people today.

      Aeta

      1. @aeta and megget

        You two should just get a room already and suck each other’s cocks right off.

        No need to subject the rest of us with your fellatio.

        1. The rest of us..?but theres just you, a faggot, trying yo force your cocksucker lifestyle upon the rest of us.

        2. Megget,

          I won’t even bother wasting my time engaging this spoiled brat in a diatribe. Everything I say about him is an afterthought (like ignoring a spoiled toddler who throws a tantrum) and addressed to someone else. This brat cannot accept the fact his Yellowtard candidate doesn’t stand a chance of winning on election day, unless his Yellowtard Party cheats, and has a hard time accepting those realities. Although he’s physically a grown man, his maturity level is still at the infantile level because his parents have sheltered him all his life, by telling him white lies, to keep his feelings from getting hurt.

          Aeta

  6. Food security isn’t going to happen within a quantized system where the social effects are just an afterthought.

  7. Ben,

    “Food security” in the Philippines is not going to happen as long as the Yellow Party oligarchs continue to marginalized the country’s agricultural capability, by keeping farmlands idle, transforming them into commercial properties, and importing foreign rice into the country.

    Aeta

    1. ““Food security” in the Philippines is not going to happen as long as the Yellow Party oligarchs…..” – Aeta
      ==========
      Oh, just shut up you yellow fever addict! At every turn, without an opponent from the yellow party contradicting you, you keep on attacking, insulting, blaming, whining against them.

      Okey, let’s make this official:

      AETA, YOU ARE CORRECT IN EVERYTHING YOU SAID ABOUT THE YELLOW PARTY. THEY SHOULD BE BLAME FOR EVERYTHING.

      Now, can you join the other posters in discussing issues WITH YOUR OWN IDEA and OPINION?

      If you have one. ?

      1. Juanita “Gwapita” Luna,

        Oh, what’s the matter, faggot? Are you afraid soon-to-be President BBM will revive the agricultural sector and the Filipino people won’t have to depend on your Yellow oligarch’s imported rice (some plastic rice) from other Asian countries to feed their families? The “Yellow Fever” that destroyed our agriculture industry will be ending soon.

        Aeta

        1. “The “Yellow Fever” that destroyed our agriculture industry will be ending soon.” – Aeta
          ==========
          You mean the Duterte administration? The Duterte administration administration is “ending soon”?

          Okay, fine. ?

      2. Juanita “Gwapita” Luna

        Like your faggot boyfriend, Jason, you’re now going back-and-forth from Masagana 99 to Duterte on why the agricultural sector was destroyed, and skipped other relevant details, like the Yellowtards’ part in the scheme for more than 3 decades, out of desperation. You’re really pulling shits out of your ass now, including leftover cum from your boyfriends, out of desperation to insult. Pathetic.

        Aeta

  8. We had the Masagana 99 before, an agricultural program of the Marcos administration to help farmers increase rice production.

    The intent was good but it didn’t work. ?

    1. Juan “Gwapita” Luna,

      Stop pulling lies out of your ass, faggot! President BBM will soon be breathing life back into Agriculture that your “Yellow Fever” masters destroyed.

      Aeta

        1. Juanita “Gwapita” Luna,

          Face the truth, faggot! The Filipino people have spoken (not the Yellow media and Smartmatic Machines, like in 2016) who they want as their leaders of their nation: BBM-SARA!

          Aeta

        2. Juan “Gwapita” Luna,

          Like your take on agriculture, you’re wrong again on who’s addicted to Yellow Fever from years of sucking their Yellowtard boyfriends’ juices, that turned you into a life of faggotry.

          Aeta

  9. I voted Abella. Considering that he has a mega-agriculture plan for the Philippines, I do wonder how well he could handle this food security issue.

    1. ChinoF,

      Go after those “Chinoy” businessmen and make them stop importing “fake rice” into the Philippines, return to Filipino farmers the land that the oligarchs took away and planned to turn into commercial properties, and give farmers the budget to start farming again.

      Those are the solutions.

      Aeta

      1. “Go after those “Chinoy” businessmen and make them stop importing “fake rice” into the Philippines, return to Filipino farmers the land that the oligarchs took away and planned to turn into commercial properties, and give farmers the budget to start farming again.

        Those are the solutions. – Aeta
        ==========
        Just shut up for a while. The people are still celebrating the elections of new leaders.

        Go after this, go after that is a dumb suggestion. So, just shut up. ?

        1. Juan “Gwapita” Luna,

          You started this whole charade about your fake congratulations and attacking my earlier comments about election results. And now you want me to stop and take a break?

          Give me a break!

          I don’t let up on Yellowtards because their intentions are never sincere.

          Aeta

        2. “Juan “Gwapito” Luna,
          You started this whole charade about your FAKE CONGRATULATIONS…” – Aeta
          ==========
          Okay. Again, let’s see proof of that allegation. ??‍♂️

      2. Yeah, there’s the issue of the import cartel in this country. That’s what I think is an obstacle to self-sufficiency in this country and is among the big business interests that funded Leni’s campaign. But maybe the same time funding BBM’s.

        1. Big Cartel got out of control when the government kicked the U.S. bases out in 1992, and gave Subic Bay to the Gordon family and Clark to the Aquinos/Cojuangcos to turned into “Special Economic Free Port Zones” for legal and illegal import/export portals.

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