Achieving Food Security: Policy Lessons from the Philippines

16 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2015

See all articles by Shienna Esteban

Shienna Esteban

De La Salle University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: August 30, 2015


The global food system is beset by challenges and threats. With the global population rapidly increasing, changing global landscape, and environmental risks that endanger agriculture, food security is now a huge concern. It has now become a major challenge to attain and maintain food security at a time of economic uncertainties and high commodity prices. In the Philippines, the challenge of achieving food security has long been recognized by the government, together with domestic agricultural productivity. In line with this, the current administration’s goal is to achieve food security and food self-sufficiency by 2016. Through the Department of Agriculture, Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP) 2011-2016 was launched with an aim to achieve self-sufficiency in food staples towards ensuring food security. The main target of FSSP is to achieve domestic requirement by 2013. Towards 2013, FSSP aims to strengthen resilience against the impact of climate change to increase production of food staples. Aside from FSSP, the Philippine government had implemented various policies directed towards self-sufficiency and food security after the 2007-2008 global food price crisis. With these policies, the paper tries to look at the current food security situation of the Philippines with respect to the goal of achieving food security. Moreover, the paper reviews the performance of Philippine agriculture vis-à-vis its economy. An analysis of the policies introduced during the post-global food crisis is also provided with their objectives, strengths, and weaknesses. Furthermore, the paper also tries to look how the Philippine agriculture vis-à-vis its fellow ASEAN countries, especially now that the region is gearing towards integration. Through a review of related literature and secondary data from DA, DBM, BAS-CountrySTAT, PSA, NSCB, PIDS, IRRI, UN-FAO, and World Bank among others, the study revealed that Philippines is still far from being food secure and resilient to climate change due to implementation gaps and lack of coordination among relevant government agencies. Thus, the goal of FSSP does not appear to be feasible. Moreover, results showed that food security has rapidly weakened by the government’s rice importation. Results also revealed that the volatility of weather in the country and high cost of agricultural inputs alleviate the production of food supply. Given the current situation, the upcoming ASEAN Integration will not bode well for Philippine agriculture. Filipino farmers are not yet ready for a regional trade as their domestic market is still fragile. Furthermore, although Philippines has a high potential, it still has no comparative advantage when compared to its neighbors such as Thailand and Vietnam. The paper concludes that for the Philippines to be successful in pursuing food security, it should undergo institutional reforms and improve infrastructure and technology to increase production.

Keywords: ASEAN Integration; climate change; food security; institutional reform; Philippine agriculture

Suggested Citation

Esteban, Shienna, Achieving Food Security: Policy Lessons from the Philippines (August 30, 2015). OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 8, No. 8, pp. 81-96, 2015, Available at SSRN:

Shienna Esteban (Contact Author)

De La Salle University - Department of Political Science ( email )

2401 Taft Avenue
Manila, Metro Manila 1004

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