The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $500-million policy-based loan to assist the Philippine government in expanding economic opportunities in the agriculture sector and ensuring food security for the population.

"Extreme climate events and economic shocks are exacerbating the struggles of the agriculture sector to raise their productivity,” ADB Principal Natural Resources and Agriculture Economist for Southeast Asia Takeshi Ueda said in a statement.

"This new loan aims to support the Philippines’ efforts to attain food security by building a competitive and inclusive agriculture sector that is characterized by improved efficiency, enhanced diversity, strengthened climate resilience, and higher farm incomes," he added.

According to the ADB, the loan supports Subprogram 2 of the Competitive and Inclusive Agriculture Development Program, which aims to develop the agriculture sector with trade policy and regulatory framework reforms.

It further seeks to enhance public services and finance for the sector, as well as social protection for rural families affected by the program’s reforms, the ADB added.

The second subprogram continues support for policy measures introduced in the first subprogram approved in 2020, which are aligned with the Philippine Development Plan for 2023 to 2028.

The ADB said this would support "effective rice buffer stock management for emergency situations and relief programs to ensure food security in the Philippines."

This will also allow the provision of unconditional cash transfers to smallholder rice farmers and concessional loans to agriculture- and fishery-based micro and small enterprises and smallholder farmers and fisherfolk under COVID-19 recovery and other credit assistance programs, according to the ADB.

It will further support the government in further enhancing planning and management of land use and water resources and ensure adequate financing to enhance the competitiveness of the country’s rice industry under a liberalized trade regime.

During the 2023 World Economic Forum, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. pushed for food security through production as he cited the 2021 Global Food Security Index which ranked the Philippines "a modest 64th out of 113 countries in four dimensions of food security metrics."

Marcos sits as the country's Agriculture chief.

On Thursday, the ADB also announced the approval of a $500-million policy-based loan to assist the Philippines in addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labor market.

It aims to provide the government assistance in liberalizing the business and investment environment to boost employment. —Anna Felicia Bajo/KBK, GMA Integrated News

This article ADB OKs $500-M loan to aid PH agri sector, improve food security was originally published in GMA News Online.

2023-01-27T04:02:38Z dg43tfdfdgfd