On behalf of the National Economic and Development Authority, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and the Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), welcome and thank you for making room in your schedules to join us in this event.

          I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to our partners from IFPRI led by Dr. Mark Rosegrant, our partners from CCAFS led by Dr. Leo Sebastian, and to Secretary Lucille Sering of the Climate Change Commission. Also to our partners from the different government agencies, non-government organizations, the academe, and the private sector, as well as members of the media, thank you.

          As many of you may be aware, the Philippines enjoyed an average growth of 6.2 percent from 2010 to 2014, making the country among the fastest growing economies in Asia. However, unlike the industry and services sectors, the share of the agriculture sector to the country’s overall growth has continued to decline from around 20 percent in the 1970’s to only 10 percent in 2014.

          Based on historical data from the Department of Agriculture[1],the total damage caused by typhoons, floods, and droughts to agricultural commodities, agricultural facilities and irrigation from 2000 to 2013 amounted to as much as Php195 billion, PhP8.9 billion and Php15.7 billion, respectively. Particularly for agriculture commodities, the value of the estimated damage dramatically increased starting in 2009, mainly due to the increasing and yearly occurrence of super typhoons that include Super Typhoon Pepeng or Parma in 2009, Super Typhoon Sendong or Washi in 2011, Super Typhoon Pablo or Bopha in 2012, Super Typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan in 2013, and Super Typhoon Glenda or Rammasun in 2014. This year, the sector is yet again confronted with another climate change phenomenon, the El Niño, which is likely to primarily affect agricultural production.

          Given the vulnerability of the agriculture sector to natural disasters and with the projected impacts of climate change, the sector’s sluggish growth is expected to continue. This scenario will greatly impact nearly one-third of the total labor force that is dependent on the agriculture sector. More importantly, the country’s targets for food security, malnutrition, employment and poverty reduction, which are significant components of the Sustainable Development Goals or the SDGs, will be more difficult to achieve.

            Today’s event will serve as a venue to present the findings and recommendations of the book named The Future of Philippine Agriculture: Scenarios, Policies, and Investments. Composed of 12 composite studies, the book looks into the agriculture sector and its vulnerability to the projected impacts of climate change. In particular, it provides assessments of impacts of climate change on agricultural investments and factors of production, then it ends with policy recommendations on building resiliency of the agriculture sector.

          Therefore, presentations this morning will cover (i) a situational analysis of the Philippine agriculture sector; (ii) a discussion about the economic impacts of climate change on the Philippine agricultural sector; and finally, (iii) policy recommendations to enhance resiliency against climate risks and natural disasters.

          We will discuss this more in detail during the research symposium this afternoon and tomorrow morning.

         Without further ado, we hope that this gathering will enlighten everyone present, and also strengthen partnerships among our different stakeholders. We also hope that the outputs from this event will prove useful in the country’s formulation of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or the INDCs, in time for the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Conference of Parties 21 this December in Paris.

          I am looking forward to your active participation. Again, welcome and thank you very much!


[1] Compiled by Ravago and Roumasset in their chapter on Risk Management and Coping Strategies: the Case of the Philippine Agricultural Sector under the book The Future of Philippine Agriculture: Scenarios, Policies, and Investments