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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Food Shortage Facts vis-a-vis Population Control


• One of the most common claims of RH Advocates is that the Philippines is facing a food shortage because of the size of our population. “There are too many Filipinos and there is too little food and rice available” is a common refrain from anti-life advocates

• One of the real reasons for the food shortage in the Philippines is not the population, but the unbelievably massive losses of food supplies in our country. According to DA Secretary Arthur Yap in his speech “The Challenge of Sustained Agriculture Growth in the Philippines”, given at the Manila Overseas Press Club “Farmers’ Night” at the Intercontinental Manila (May 18, 2007), spoke of:

“..the need for a program that will address the post-harvest losses of our grain crops, vegetables, livestock and fisheries products. In grains, we are losing 10-15%, and in vegetables and fisheries, close to 50%..The losses in terms of spoilage and reduction in volumes translate to billions of pesos and impact directly on farm incomes and consumer prices.”

In a nutshell, due to the lack of adequate drying and storage facilities, the Philippines is losing nearly HALF of its vegetable and fisheries harvests and some 10-15% of our grain (including rice and corn) harvests. In reality the Philippines is producing nearly double the food supply that can be found in its markets: it is just that nearly half of it is destroyed by spoilage. THIS, and not alleged “overpopulation” is one of the real reasons for hunger in our country. Indeed, in the succeeding paragraphs, Sec. Yap calls for the installation of more drying and storage facilities throughout the country and for the development of a “National Grains Highway” to prevent this needless waste of our vegetables, corn, rice and fisheries.

• In the same speech, Sec. Arthur Yap mentions that “in the 70’s, our thrust was to produce at least 99 cavans of rice per hectare… today, we are a boisterous and democratic nation pushing beyond 86 million Filipinos, working with shrinking areas for lands and watersheds. And yet, we have the technology and the testimony of farmers from all over the country, which make it possible to harvest an average of 200 cavans of rice per hectare of irrigated rice lands.”

• Instead of investing billions of pesos in pills and condoms, we should invest this money instead in warehouses and rural development in order to prevent more senseless waste of our food resources and in order to produce more rice with better technology. This is a more sensible and long-term way of addressing poverty and hunger. It will also leave a more lasting impact on the lives of congressional constituencies.
This short paper was distributed in the House of Representatives by pro-life advocates in 2008.

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