October 7, 2021
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Department of Agriculture (DA) are embarking on a new technical cooperation towards improving the vegetable value chain in the country to help boost farm income.
The Project for Market-Driven Enhancement of Vegetable Value Chain in the Philippines (MV2C) was signed this week, jumpstarting the project to be piloted in selected vegetable producing provinces in the country. A vegetable value chain roadmap will be one of the outputs of the project to identify major bottlenecks, determine solutions, and distinguish the roles of each stakeholder along the Food Value Chain (FVC).
DA officials during the kick-off meeting conducted August 2020 with JICA counterparts in virtual attendance.
The project is aligned with the government's efforts to address the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on famers' livelihoods. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that the pandemic and related restriction measures have aggravated the lingering challenges faced by the Philippine agriculture such as low income of producers and disconnected value chain. The report also said that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to impact the agriculture sector through reduced production, and food inaccessibility to name a few.
"The pandemic has worsened food insecurity in the country. Our cooperation with DA will hopefully help improve the food value chain in the Philippines by establishing an inclusive business model for local vegetable farmers and a roadmap to fill the gaps in the FVC," said JICA Senior Representative OHSHIMA Ayumu.
Through the cooperation, JICA will send Japanese consultants to determine and introduce appropriate technology solutions, and to eventually pilot the developed inclusive business models in target vegetable producing provinces.
Before the pandemic, agriculture sector accounts for 9.2% of the GDP, and registered 1.2% growth (PSA data, 2019). The sector also employs 9.72 million work force, contributing to 22.9% of the jobs in the country.
With the new project on improving the Philippines' FVC, vegetable farmers are expected to increase their productivity and income, while consequently helping improve the country's food security situation.
Aside from technical cooperation, JICA has been supporting the Philippine agriculture sector since the 1960s through building basic rural infrastructure such as farm-to-market roads, post-harvest facilities, and irrigation systems in agrarian reform communities.
Current situation of some agricultural terminals in Luzon where vegetables are piled up for transport