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The Effects of Trade Liberalization on Agriculture and Food Security

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Jose Victor M. Jayme
Integrated Rural Development Foundation

Agriculture and food security are two highly interconnected issues that demand public attention. They are of utmost importance as they have a direct effect on people’s lives. With this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting happening a few months from now, it is high time that we closely examine what the organization has done in order to address this issue at a regional level.

The first part of this paper discusses the definition as well as the operationalization of food security as formulated by APEC. The second part of the paper reviews and critiques the policy direction of trade liberalization, which APEC is currently taking in its efforts to resolve the problem. Finally, the third and last part of the paper presents the concept of food sovereignty as a viable alternative.

Definition and Operationalization of Food Security

“Food security exists when all people, at all times, havephysical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needsand food preferences for an active and healthy life” (APEC, 2014)

Fisheries stakeholders raise issues about Sorsogon waters

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That is the one-word description for the state of Sorsogon waters as seen by the stakeholders themselves during the 1st Provincial Fisheries Summit held on July 29-30, 2015 at the Audio Visual Hall of the Sorsogon State College Sorsogon City Campus.

The province of Sorsogon has a coastline of 553.3 kilometers around 13 municipalities and 1 city, with only the town of Irosin as landlocked.  It is bounded by 5 fishing grounds:  the Pacific Ocean and Albay Gulf (Pacific Coast) covering the towns of Prieto Diaz, Gubat, Barcelona, Bulusan, Sta. Magdalena, Matnog and part of Bacon District of Sorsogon City; the BuriasPass and Ticao Pass covering the municipalities of Pilar, Donsol, and Bulan; and Sorsogon Bay which includes the municipalities of Casiguran, Juban, Magallanes, and Castilla and the East and West Districts of Sorsogon City.


Livelihood Projects of partner communities of the Integrated Rural Development Foundation

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1. Rags for Profits – A community livelihood project of the women of Bgy. San Vicente

San Vicente, Bulan, Sorsogon


One of the key issues faced by rural women is the lack of economic opportunities and employment. Oftentimes, they do not have access to capital nor the skills that could be their ticket to gainful employment. So often when IRDF conducts dialogue with the local women, they would emphasize the need for livelihood activities.


WFD 2014 Position Paper- PHILS

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The Philippine agrariancommunity which continues to recover from the impact of severe natural disasters urges the Philippine government to recognize and develop the full potential of family farming in achieving national food security in the midst of surging rice importation and food prices.
The theme of World Food Day on October 16, 2014 which is "Family Farming- Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth" is a strong pronouncement to promote and protect Filipino family farmers who are smallholders but the most efficient movers in solving the food crisis while maintaining ecological balance.


Upholding family farming takes off from the current status of Philippine agriculture that urgently requires rebalancing and rebuilding from its already damaged state given the years of neglect on this sector. Rural incomes especially of the most impoverished sectors of farmers and fisherfolks remain insufficient for food and other basic necessities. With the escalating rice prices, realizing food security continues to be a huge challenge for the government as high rice prices drive up food inflation.


Rice crisis may intensify under ASEAN Integration 2015

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Given the continued rice importation and the problem of rice cartel in the Philippines, the rice crisis may intensify as the country moves towards the ASEAN Economic Integration by 2015. 

While the country recorded its highest rice production in 2013 at 18.4 million MT, this represented only about 96% self-sufficiency, consequently compelling the government to procure from the international market to supply its shortfall, according to ArzeGlipo, executive director of the Integrated Rural Development Foundation  (IRDF).

“The Philippine agriculture sector which experiences low productivity, limited mechanization, weak infrastructures such as irrigation systems, low research and development and the propagation of science and technology knowledge, poor and underdeveloped agri-processing cannot compete with its Southeast Asian neighbors”, said Dr. ReneOfreneo, former labor undersecretary and dean of the University of the Philippines School of Labor and Industrial Relations.


APNFS Position Paper WFD 2014

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The Asia Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty (APNFS) joins the global population of farmers, fisherfolks and other communitiesof diverse people in remembering October 16 as World Food
Day which this year recognizes the full potential of family farming as a flourishing cultural heritage in achieving global food security. 


IRDF conducts Institutional Policy and Analysis Training in Sorsogon City

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Around 20 participants coming from basic sector organizations namely GABAY (Gabay ng Kababaihan para sa Sambayanan), ALPAS (ALyansa kan Parasira sa Sorsogon) and Bigkis, a farmers organization, partake in the Institution and Policy Analysis Training hosted by IRDF last September 12-13, 2013 at Casa Dominga, Sorsogon City.

Ms. Arze Glipo, Executive Director of IRDF, start-off by saying that this kind of training is important for people’s organization such as ALPAs, GABAY, and    Bigkis, to guide them in analyzing power relations in the community where they are in and in the national sphere as a whole. Ms. Glipo was also one of the resource persons for that said training wherein she discussed about structural analysis and then proceeded to power analysis.

Other resource persons include Ms. Libby Dometita, Project Manager of the Participatory Governance Project, Mr. Rico Gaurino, officer in charge of DILG-Sorsogon, and Mr. alex Jasareno, training officer of IRDF.


Emerging Issues in Land and Resource Use and Tenure

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"Identifying Viable Proposals and Actions to Safeguard Tenurial Rights of the Poor.”

Massive land acquisition in poorer countries became a global phenomenon at the aftermath of the food crisis in 2008. Led by rich and emerging economies like China and Korea, foreign investments have gone to land acquisition or contract growing arrangements for food crops that have given these investors control over large tract of agricultural lands, forests and coastal areas in developing countries like the Philippines . Huge investments have also poured into production of biofuel crops resulting in conversion of agricultural farms into biofuel plantations such as oil palm, jatropha and sugarcane. This trend persists to these days with disastrous consequences on local and national food security as well the rights and access to land and natural resources of millions of poor people.


Water Group to MWSS: Publicize Concession Agreements and Audit of Concessionaires

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pr3MANILA, PHILIPPINES—With the threat of water bill increases from both Maynilad and Manila Water by July of this year, a coalition of anti-water privatization advocates is demanding the immediate disclosure of the financial audit performed by the Commission on Audit (CoA) on both concessionaires.

According to the Water Watch coalition, which groups together various peoples organizations, NGOs, church and human rights organizations opposing the commodification of water,


Group questions basis for rate-rebasing, blasts water privatization

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pr2MANILA, PHILIPPINES—On the first day of public consultations regarding proposed hikes in Metro Manila water rates, a coalition of anti-water privatization advocates questioned the basis for the planned increases while blaming the government for privatizing a vital public service.

“Since the water service was privatized, we have seen a 1,000 increase in water rates in the Maynilad service area while rates in Manila Water’s zone has seen a 500 percent increase. This has made the cost of water in Metro Manila one of the highest in the region, putting it beyond the reach of the poorest Filipinos,” Arze Glipo, convener of the Water Watch Coalition said.


IRDF Briefer on IWRM and Irrigation

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Briefer-on-IWRM-and-Irrigation-1Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) is a framework and approach to land and water management that seeks to balance human, industrial, agricultural and environmental needs. At first glance, this seems to be a very good idea. The devil, as they say however, is the details.

The 1992 International Conference on Water and Environment and the UN Conference on Environment and Development (Rio Summit), set out new approaches to water resources management. Meanwhile, the Dublin International Conference on Water and the Environment (Dublin, Ireland 1992) laid down the four principles of IWRM: [View Full Briefer]

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