Press Release
June 16, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged the government to prioritize spending in agricultural modernization and research and development (R&D) in the face of a looming food crisis.

International nonprofit group Oxfam has forecasted that food prices will increase by 70 percent to 90 percent in real terms by 2030. Taking into account the effects of climate change, food price could further double.

A combination of failures in agriculture and farming, as well as adverse climate impacts, are seen as the main reasons for the food crisis, said Angara, former Agriculture Secretary.

He stressed that long-term solutions entail investing in agricultural infrastructure and R&D. "The government must install post-harvest facilities to curb wastage which can readily cover supply shortfalls, as well as rehabilitate 800,000 hectares of irrigation canals in disrepair."

Prices for corn have more than doubled in the last 12 months as global production has been unable to keep pace with record demand driven partly by the growth of the U.S. ethanol industry.

The average growth rate of agricultural yields has almost halved since 1990 and is set to decline to a fraction of one percent in the next decade. Increasing regional and local crises could require double the amount of food aid over the next 10 years.

Oxfam warned that demand for food will rise by 70 percent by 2050. However, the world's capacity to increase food production continues to decline.

"As a developing country, we must prioritize food security above anything else because the brunt of price hikes affects the poorest and most vulnerable segments of our society," stressed Angara.

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