Food Coalition

Humanitarian response Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) - The Philippines

The country’s agriculture sector has been affected by pests and diseases such as African swine fever (ASF), avian influenza, and fall armyworm (FAW), as well as by natural disasters, the most recent being Typhoon Vongfong which hit the Philippines in mid‑May at the height of the COVID‑19 crisis. The Typhoon affected agricultural production, especially high‑value crops, as well as rice, corn, assorted vegetables, livestock and fisheries including fish stock, facilities and equipment.

Preliminary results of a rapid assessment conducted jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) indicate that the effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic and related restriction measures have contributed to aggravating existing challenges in the Philippines’ agri‑food system – both short‑term stresses (such as ASF, FAW and typhoons) as well as long term issues. The latter includes the weak growth and low income of producers, farm labour shortages, lack of producers’ access to inputs and financing, high costs of logistics and storage, a disconnected value chain, high cost of nutritious food, vulnerability of the agriculture sector to environmental hazards, and reliance of the existing food system on concentrated distribution points such as urban centres.

The effects of urgent and essential government restrictions related to COVID‑19 also contributed to a substantial increase in unemployment and underemployment rates, negatively affecting household incomes, particularly for smallholders and landless labourers, as well as causing food accessibility issues, especially for vulnerable populations in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The effects of COVID‑19 containment measures also contributed to reduced productivity and disruptions in the flow of goods (including food products and other essential items) for small and medium enterprises in the food‑manufacturing sector.

The effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic may have also triggered new challenges for the agri‑food sector. Surveys conducted by the National Economic and Development Authority showed that the agriculture sector lost an estimated PHP 94.3 million (about USD 1.9 million) from unsold produce, with the regions of Calabarzon and Central Luzon accounting for 27.9 percent and 26.3 percent of the losses, respectively. About 39 percent of the total losses were in high‑value crops. Overall, losses across agriculture, industry and service sectors amounted to PHP 1.1 billion (around USD 21.8 million), or about 5.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Priority Areas of work: Global Humanitarian Response Plan
SDG: 1. No Poverty, 2. Zero Hunger, 5. Gender Equality, 16. Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Level: Country
Country: Philippines
Budget: USD 17.9 million

Action Sheet:  Phil_cb0202en.pdf

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