The policy environment of vegetable agroforestry in the Philippines: Are there incentives for small farmers?
D.C. Catacutan; C. Duque-Pinon
Type of Document:
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
Date of Publication:
Place of Publication:
Abstract: In the Philippines, using agriculture as a basis for rapid economic growth requires both
productivity revolution in smallholder farming and innovative policies and political commitment. An important aspect of this development has to do with expanding technical options that are adapted to the ecological potential of the area and to changing economic patterns, drawing on existing technologies in the short term and introducing new practices and technologies in the longer term. Vegetable-Agroforestry (VAF) is a viable farming system in the uplands; however, its viability is constrained by various factors, including farmers inability to invest in the system, inadequate institutional structures for facilitating information flow, and lack of market incentives. Policy incentives are thus needed to stimulate smallholder investments in VAF systems.
This paper reports on the scoping study of the policy environment of VAF system. The study found that at least in theory, the policy environment is supportive of VAF system, but it is insufficient in stimulating smallholder investments. Incentives for smallholders, albeit limited, exist; correspondingly, disincentives persist. Large holders tend to benefit more from national level policies than smallholders, because the former have more access to policy information and can leverage the associated costs of policy implementation. It is recognized that some issues are better resolved through national-level policies, while a number of issues are better addressed by locally-formulated policies. For the vegetable sector, issues on price regulation and control, commodity protection, reducing costs across the market value chain, non-tariff barriers, and global trade require national-level policy interventions. For the tree sector, issues regarding restrictive policies, transaction costs, land tenure and resource rights, and domestic and international market incentives are also to be addressed through national-level policies. At the local level, promoting smallholder investments in VAF system requires decisive policy action in terms of improving the effectiveness of the extension system, with emphasis on improved technology provision and support for market linkages and infrastructure. Where national-level policies do not effectively address the needs of smallholders, locally-crafted policies are needed to offset this gap. Policy linkages between national and local levels need to be established, and policymakers need to mobilize adequate responses at both levels. Finally, the viability of VAF system depends on a whole set of policy environment that government can provide. It is therefore a political imperative.