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‘Harvest Festival’ By JONAS REYES October 26, 2012, 8:28pm MONCADA, Tarlac — Organically-grown vegetables at a community-based garden in Barangay Camangaan, here welcomed some 200 local residents and allowed them to pick a variety of farm produce for free recently. Among the organic vegetables harvested and taken home by the residents were pechay, pak choi, mustard, kangkong, pepper used for sinigang, chili pepper, sweet pepper, talong, okra, upo, alugbati, string beans, cucumber, and watermelon. The occasion was the first Harvest Festival of the Hardin ng Lunas, a collaborative project of the Tarlac Heritage Foundation, San Miguel Corporation, and the East-West Seed Bank. The harvest festival is part of the group’s advocacy to encourage local residents to plant organic vegetables in their backyard as a means of ensuring a healthy lifestyle in food consumption, Dr. Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay, Hardin project leader, said.‐festival#.UIqTkGdYDMY                       

Billions Earmarked For Mindanao Rebuild By ALI G. MACABALANG October 26, 2012, 8:16pm ZAMBOANGA CITY – Unprecedented investments and financial aid amounting to billions have been earmarked to rebuild war-torn areas in Mindanao amid the dawn of peace sparked by the Philippine government’s forging of framework accord with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao officials led by ARMM acting Governor Mujiv S. Hataman described the fresh investments as “peace dividends” for communities in the south that suffered the brunt of atrocities and other socio-economic debacles. For a start, they said, European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux signed on Oct. 22 a single currency-bloc’s commitment of $5.9-million (P312-million) in grant turned over that same day for a two-year implementation of the project called “Enhancing the Resilience of Internally Displaced Persons in Central Mindanao by Strengthening Livelihoods.” Hataman’s technical staff said that Malaysia’s Felda Global Ventures (FGV), the world's largest producer of crude palm oil, had expressed interest to infuse part of its $3.1-billion investment capital in Mindanao after the signing of the government-MILF accord, which the firm viewed as “potentially opening up tracts of farm land. Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu of Maguindanao, of a province in ARMM actively involved in palm oil farming, said he would exert follow-up representations to a business firm in Saudi Arabia that had earlier committed to invest some P1.3-billion for banana production and other agricultural endeavors in his province. “President Aquino is aware of such an investment prospect from the Saudi kingdom. We have high hopes that the prospected investment would materialize in the wake of the initial peace accord signing,” Mangudadatu said. A similar optimism was aired Thursday by Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr., who earlier revealed investment offers from some Muslim countries interested to open up businesses in his province and other parts of ARMM “once peace is assured.” The EU’s financial grant was turned over Monday by Ambassador Ledoux to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which is the lead agency for projects addressing wardisplaced people and communities.‐earmarked‐for‐mindanao‐ rebuild#.UIqUgGdYDMY 

PROSPECT OF PHILIPPINE TUNA INDUSTRY Editorial October 26, 2012, 4:31pm THE Philippine tuna industry contributes 4 percent to the country’s Gross National Product (GNP). The tuna sector accounts for 12 percent of total fish production and employs about 120,000 workers. The Philippines ranks seventh among the top tuna producers worldwide for canned and frozen tuna. Industry data showed that exports of fresh and canned tuna reached $284 million in 2011. Tuna is among the 200 or so species of fish found in the country that have high commercial value. Over 60 percent of production is based in Mindanao – South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City. GenSan has been tagged as “Tuna Capital of the Philippines” since the 1970s. The proximity of the city to tuna-rich fishing grounds including the Moro Gulf, Sulu Sea, Mindanao Sea, and Celebes Sea, is an advantage. The daily catch is bought by foreign and local traders. There are seven canneries – six in General Santos City and one in Zamboanga City – and 40 cold storage facilities that can accommodate 12,615 metric tons of fish harvest. The second largest and most modern Fish Port Complex is in GenSan. The Board of Investments (BOI) has approved tax incentives for a R120-million expansion project of a GenSan-based tuna firm that produces choice portions of tuna for export. The expansion will start commercial operations in February, 2013, and is expected to generate jobs. It will help boost the country’s tuna exports. The United States remains the top export market of local tuna, receiving 53 percent of exports. Other export markets are Japan, North America, Middle East, Europe, Asian countries, Africa, South America, and Australia. The local tuna industry is expected to benefit from a free trade agreement with the European Union, as the government works for the industry to be granted zero tariff privilege to bolster processed tuna export to Europe. We wish Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Director Atty. Asis G. Perez, all the best and success in their partnership to ensure the local tuna industry’s position in the global market. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!‐of‐philippine‐tuna‐industry#.UIqV62dYDMY   

Philippines 4th In Microfinance Ranking EIU Report By CHINO S. LEYCO October 26, 2012, 5:35pm The Philippines has ranked fourth in an annual global survey on microfinance business environment, based on the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) report, citing the country's stable market. According to the report, the country scored 63.3 points, up by 4.8 points, or two notches higher compared with last year's Global Microscope on the Microfinance Business Environment report. The Philippines ranked fourth out of 55 countries in an annual global survey, trailing behind Peru (79.8 points), Bolivia (71.8 points), and Pakistan (67.4 points). The Microscope 2012 survey was conducted in the 12 months ending in June. EIU explained the rankings were based on regulatory framework and practices, in which the Philippines was placed on top along with Peru; and the supporting institutional framework, wherein the country ranked 15 along with Brazil, Nicaragua, and Uruguay. The survey also noted the "stability" of microfinance markets, if they are vulnerable to any political shocks. “The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas continues to promote an enabling environment for microfinance, seeing it as one of its key poverty reduction efforts,” the report read. The survey has also recognized key efforts of the BSP such as increasing the ceiling for microfinance loans to P300,000 from P150,000 and the lower house's approved measure allowing foreign ownership of up to 40 percent in rural banks. The proposed measure, however, remains pending in the Senate. In January, the BSP approved a microfinance loan called “microfinance plus” that microenterprises and small businesses can avail of to fund their expanding operations, allowing borrowers to take out a maximum of P300,000 to fund their growing business

Microfinance, generally, has originally intended to mean financing for microenterprises or small livelihood activities but the BSP has since expanded the loan products to include microfinance housing, micro-agri loans, micro-insurance and micro-deposits. For all loans, it starts with P150,000 up to a maximum of P300,000. Currently, there are 202 microfinance institutions operating in the Philippines.‐4th‐in‐microfinance‐ ranking#.UIqWe2dYDMY                                       

Microfinance Needs To Reach Poor By EDU LOPEZ October 26, 2012, 5:32pm The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has stressed the need for a sustainable microfinance assistance to reach more of the poor in Asia and the Pacific. In a new study, "Micro-finance Development Strategy 2000: Sector Performance and Client Welfare," ADB, emphasizes the twin goals of micro-finance — reaching the poor and being financially sustainable. With microfinance becoming increasingly commercialized in the region, the study stresses the role of government and agencies such as ADB in addressing the financial needs of the poor, while at the same time ensuring the institutional sustainability of micro-finance providers. “Despite the increasing popularity of micro-finance in recent years, expanding the access of poor households to institutional financial services remains a great challenge to governments and development agencies,” says the director-general of independent evaluation, Vinod Thomas. The study finds that the penetration of micro-finance among the poor in Asia and the Pacific remains low. As of the end of 2010, some 20% of the population living below the poverty level of $1.25 per day had direct access to microfinance services in 21 developing countries receiving ADB micro-finance support. This level was below ADB’s goals. Micro-finance is seen in the region as an important means to helping low-income households take advantage of economic opportunities and improve living standards. But the degree to which it actually reaches the poor and improves their welfare is under public scrutiny. A review of two programs in Pakistan and Viet Nam points to an apparent trade-off between targeting and effectiveness of micro-finance. Smaller loans were better at targeting the poor, but less effective than larger loans in producing welfare benefits. In the Pakistan program, the average loan was $195 but reached substantially more borrowers living below the national poverty line than in the Viet Nam program, where the average loan was $1,972. The study found more positive direct and indirect welfare benefits in the Viet Nam program than in the Pakistan program. The study says that for micro-finance to have a greater impact on reducing poverty in the region, it needs to better target the poor and focus more on educating them in using basic financial services, as well as more effectively link micro-finance services to complementary pro-poor interventions.‐needs‐to‐reach‐poor#.UIqW1WdYDMY   

Financing Firm Bullish In Rp October 26, 2012, 5:21pm Esquire Financing, Inc., a local financing firm which caters to the credit needs of small and medium-enterprises (SME) is bullish about its growth prospects in the Philippines. Sandeep Chandiramani, Esquire Chief Finance Officer (CFO) said: “We are seeing a very good momentum in the Philippine economy based on strong economic fundamentals -- excellent gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 6 percent, record-levels of investments in fixed deposits, securities and foreign currency reserves, plus inflation at the low range of the 3-5% target range.” He said businesses will be more aggressive in pursuing respective expansion strategies against this economic backdrop. SME's will be requiring more options for financing, consultancy and related services. Being the specialist in growth stage financing, we are very dynamic in building the infrastructure through "Powered by Esquire" partner network so we can be wellpositioned to address these various needs, he said. The powered by Esquire represents EFI’s program of forging partnerships with businesses. First of which is Capitalife Lending Inc., an expert in personal lending. Capitalife also brings EFI’s business loans to more clients as the latter’s sales and marketing arm. The partnership, together with Buy-A-Car, has recently launched the Buy-and-Drive fast and hassle-free auto loan. EFI has also partnered with rising software company, IntelliTech Business Solutions Inc., a software provider offering business IT solutions, including applications and systems integration, mobile systems integration, e-commerce solutions, web hosting and design, consulting and outsourcing, to SMEs. The collaboration links IntelliTech to Esquire’s vast network of small and medium enterprises, all of whose growth will eventually require a reliable technology system. DB Express, a timely offshoot of one of its long-time clients, is another of the newest ventures that are powered by Esquire, which shares in the business’ vision of making fresh flowers and flower arrangements for all occasions affordable, accessible and quick. Three kiosks are now operational in SM malls in Sucat, Sta. Mesa and Bicutan, and at least seven stores are set to open in the many other SM malls within the year.‐firm‐bullish‐in‐rp#.UIqXKmdYDMY       

Durian Farm Into Tour Destination By ZAC B. SARIAN  October 26, 2012, 12:32pm 

Make sure to get a copy of the November issue of Agriculture Magazine which will be off the press anytime now. You will enjoy the many interesting articles, including the story about Antonio Partoza who is transforming his durian farm in Davao City into an agritourism destination. Melpha M. Abello wrote the story. What makes Patoza’s farm ideal for agritourism is that it is operated without the use of chemical pesticides. He uses mostly organic fertilizer and a small percentage of chemical fertilizer. The use of Mycovam, a biofertilizer with bendficial fungi, helps keep his trees healthy and productive. Most of the trees are of the Arancillo variety which produces relatively smaller fruits but are very tasty. During durian season, visitors can enjoy eating all the durian they can eat for a fee of P180 per person. Aside from enjoying eating the exotic fruit, they can try their hand at picking the prickly durian fruits. The place can be an ideal place for meditation. Or an educational trip. Visitors can learn about the techniques of growing durian. SHEEP BREEDER — Those who are interested in raising small ruminants can read the story about Rex Yerro and his father Norberto who are specializing in breeding recommended breeds of sheep. Right now, they have more than 200 head in their farms in San Ildefonso, Bulacan and in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija. Earlier this year, they were the recipients of a package of purebred sheep under the US Public Law 480 Assistance Program. Their farm has been designated as a participating multiplier farm by the Bureau of Animal Industry which is implementing its own Genetic Improvement Program in livestock. The purebred breeders are considered a loan which will be paid in kind (progenies) within three years. Each female received will be paid with three young females. BIOFERTILIZER — There is also this story about how Mycovam, a biofertilizer with beneficial fungi, has helped farmers in Panabo, Davao del Norte increase their harvest. One of the users interviewed by Melpha M. Abello was Daniel Murga Jr., a smallhold farmer who is practicing integrated farming in his 1.7-hectare property. In 2008, he applied just two kilos of Mycovam together with goat manure to his 30 mango trees, 40 coconuts and 8 rambutan trees. The result? He used to get only 3,000 kilos or three tons from his mango trees. Now, he is getting 13 tons, thanks to Mycovam. Now he gets 800 kilos a year from his 40 coconuts

compared to a very pitiful harvest before he started using Mycovam. The same happened to his 8 rambutan trees. By mid-September this year, he had already sold P5,000 worth of fruits, with much of the harvest either consumed at home or given to friends and neighbors. His latundan bananas also yielded plump and sweet fruits (see photo), thanks to Mycovam and vermicast that he applied to his plants. CO-OP SERVES CASSAVA FARMERS — There is also the interesting story about the San Jose Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Banga, South Cotabato, which is helping cassava farmers make money from this root crop. How? Well, because the co-op has acquired postharvest facilities such as flatbed dryer, slicer and granulator, plus a solar dryer and processing center, it has become a favored supplier of cassava chips to a big feed mill. Thanks to the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP), the co-op was able to get a financial package of P3.5 million which it used to buy the postharvest facilities. With those facilities, the co-op can now meet the quality standards that the feedmill requires. And so farmers have a ready market for their harvests. This also means a stable income for the planters. NEW ONIONS — Another good news is that there are new onion varieties that promise to become best performers under local conditions. These include the varieties recently introduced by Allied Botanical Corporation which have been tested in farmers’ fields in Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Nueva Ecija, Ilocos and Nueva Vizcaya. One of them is Rio Bravo which is a yellow variety that is suitable for hamburgers and salads. Under farmers’ field in Nueva Ecija, Rio Bravo yielded an average of 25 tons per hectare. Another high-yielding variety from Allied is called Juni. In trial plantings in Quezon, a 1,000-square meter lot yielded 3 tons which translates to 30 tons per hectare. There are many other interesting features in the November issue of Agriculture which you should not miss. ************ Log on to: for practical farming tips, ideas and interesting agripeople.‐farm‐into‐tour‐destination#.UIqb7WdYDMY   

Coastal Resources October 26, 2012, 8:11pm BUTUAN CITY – Aiming to fully support the national government in global warming and climate change mitigation program, the city government of Butuan is mobilizing its concerned department heads in stepping up the Coastal Resource and Mangrove Development Program (CRMDP) in all its coastal barangays. Currently, the city government is already implementing the “Balangayan Grow A Million Trees” in support to the national government’s National Greening program and “Clean Ground, Zero Waste” program for climate change mitigation program. To give more teeth on the CRMDP, the city government through the City Agriculturist’s Office (AO) has allocated P200,000 for the city’s seven coastal barangays. This new development came out during the 2nd Annual Barangay Fishery and Aquatic Resource Management Councils (BFARMC) Convention where Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand M. Amante, Jr. personally attended at the Provincial Training Center Capitol Grounds here on Monday. (Mike U. Crismundo)‐resources#.UIqdCmdYDMY                     

Magnitude 5 quake hits off Eastern Samar   7:41 pm | Friday, October 26th, 2012  

MANILA, Philippines—A magnitude 5 earthquake struck off Guiuan in the central Philippine province of Eastern Samar at 6:58 p.m., according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. There were no immediate reports of damage or injury from the quake which centered 87 kilometers northeast of Guiuan. It has a shallow depth of 16 kilometers. The Philippines sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where continental plates collide causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.‐5‐quake‐hits‐off‐eastern‐samar         

Pests attack 5­ha mangrove plantation in Camarines Sur  By Juan Escandor Jr.  Inquirer Southern Luzon   10:59 pm | Friday, October 26th, 2012    

THIS MANGROVE plantation in Barangay Cagsao, Calabanga, Camarines Sur, has been attacked by pests. JUAN ESCANDOR JR./INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON CALABANGA, Camarines Sur—Pests have descended upon more than 5 hectares of mangrove plantation in Barangay Cagsao in this town, affecting about 80 percent of the trees. Gilbert C. Gonzalez, acting regional director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Bicol, said the technical team of the DENR was sent to the

mangrove plantation here to validate the concern raised by Mayor Evelyn Yu of pests attacking the leaves of mangrove trees planted on the once barren shores of Cagsao. The affected mangrove trees were mostly planted only three years ago, spreading across the tidal flats and providing the community a barrier against storm surges. The mangrove plantation was initiated by the community in partnership with the local government, line agencies, nongovernment organization, private entities and individual volunteers in line with disaster risk management program. Feliciano Lauricio Jr., DENR’s surveillance officer, said the mangrove plantation was being attacked by Tussock moth (Lipedoptera Lymatriidae) whose larvae (caterpillars) gobble the leaves of mangrove trees and make the weak ones wilt. Lauricio, however, assured the public that moves had been taken to eradicate the pest, using a spray made of liquid laundry soap mixed with chilli powder and by manually removing the pests’ larvae. The more than 5 ha of mangrove plantation, a green canopy rising and creeping above the shallow tidal flat, was established in 2009. Some 371 kilometers south of Manila and 39 km northeast of Naga City, the mangrove plantation is part of the disaster risk reduction and mitigation plan of the community, according to village chief Pascual Sta. Ana. Cagsao, a coastal village highly vulnerable to storm surges, nestles on the side of a steep hill that drops to a narrow shore line, is the home of 1,629 people, mostly depending on fishing for their livelihood. There are 582 households with 730 families clustered in seven zones. Sta. Ana said the mangrove plantation was one of the small-scale mitigation measures that the community embarked on to build a natural buffer against storm surges.‐attack‐5‐ha‐mangrove‐plantation‐in‐camarines‐sur             

Sugar sector mulls over exports in November  By Othel V. Campos | Posted on Oct. 27, 2012 at 12:01am | 6 views 

The sugar industry plans to start an early export program in November to dispose of surplus production in time for the arrival of new stocks. “We have to decongest our warehouses for incoming inventory. At rate of milling this season, our warehouses will be full to the brim if we will not start shipment soon,” Sugar Regulatory Administration manager for planning Rosemarie Gumera said in an interview. Gumera said the early shipment program would also prevent sugar prices from fluctuating too high or too low. “We just want prices to be at the same level they are right now. Refined sugar should be selling at P50 to 54 per kilo while washed sugar [second-class sugar] should be priced not more than P58 per kilo,” said Gumera. The agency wanted an early shipment program to sell surplus production to the world market, depending on the existing world or the current price in the US. Data from the SRA showed the country had a sugar inventory of 40,952.8 metric tons of “A,” or sugar allotted for the US quota, and 55,853.24 MT of “D,” or sugar for the world market. The SRA said compared withcrop year 2011-2012, more mills started operations in the current 2012-2013 crop year, with nine in full operation. Only three mills started early operation during the same period last year. The SRA said in the first four weeks of milling in the current crop year, the sector produced 73,528.03 metric tons of raw sugar, or 395 percent higher than the previous crop year’s 14,824.39 MT. It said the increase in production was led by the early start of the milling season in Negros Island.‐sector‐mulls‐over‐exports‐in‐november/   

Phl's 7% jobless rate among highest in Asia   By Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star) Updated October 27, 2012 12: 00 AM   

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has one of the highest unemployment rates among emerging Asian nations at seven percent, data from state agency National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) showed. In comparison Thailand posted an unemployment rate of 0.7 percent; Vietnam, two percent; Malaysia, 3.1 percent; China, 4.1 percent, and Indonesia, 6.6 percent. NSCB secretary general Jose Ramon G. Albert said despite socioeconomic gains and positive  growth in the gross domestic product (GDP), poverty and unemployment in the Philippines  remained unchanged.  “The headcount poverty rate and other indicators of poverty have almost remained unchanged  for almost a decade – poverty incidence among the Filipino population ranged between 24.9 to  26.5 percent during the period,” he said.  Albert noted that most of the other countries moved from being heavily dependent on the  agriculture sector to developing the manufacturing sector, which offered better jobs, higher  wages and set a decisive impact on the country’s economy. Roughly six of 10 poor  underemployed belong to the agriculture, forestry and hunting business in 2009.  However, the Philippines failed to follow suit.  Fresh data show that the Philippines had declining employment share in the manufacturing  sector while increasing employment in other sectors and retaining a significant number in the  agriculture sector.  Albert said among the classic examples are the cases of Vietnam and China, which have made  large strides in poverty reduction.  Poverty incidence in Vietnam was 63.7 percent in 1993 and went down to 16.9 percent in 2008.   In China, poverty incidence was 60.2 percent in 1990, which dropped to just 13.1 percent in  2008.  In terms of their working poor, Vietnam’s proportion of working poor went down from 71.5  percent in 1995 to 20.4 percent in 2006.  China, on the other hand, registered a 73.1 percent  proportion of working poor in 1992, which went down to 18.3 percent in 2005.   “In both these countries, the share of employed persons in agriculture, forestry, and hunting  has been decreasing while the share of those in manufacturing has been increasing.  In other  words, the poor (from agriculture) managed to exit from poverty by getting better  employment,” the NSCB head said.  Lack of opportunities for the farmers result in low educational levels in the agriculture sector,  which in turn, account for the low employment rate. Nearly three out of every five (59.3 percent)  of the working poor are elementary undergraduate or graduate. 

The NSCB revealed that poor underemployed Filipinos are aged between 35 and 44 in 2006 and  2009. Most of the poor underemployed are married (72.2 percent in 2006 and 69.9 percent in  2009) and male (71.8 percent in 2006 and 70.4 percent in 2009).  Poverty among the underemployed consistently decreases as educational achievement  increases.  Most of the poor underemployed are working as laborers and unskilled workers (50.1 percent in  2006 and 53 percent in 2009) and, farmers, forestry workers and fishermen (31.1 percent in  2006 and 27.7 percent in 2009).                                     

Inflation seen at 2.9‐3.8% in Oct  By Prinz P. Magtulis (The Philippine Star) Updated October 27, 2012 12:00 AM Comments (0)  View comments  MANILA, Philippines ‐ Inflation is expected to have slowed further this month due to lower food  and oil prices and the peso’s appreciation against the dollar, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)  said yesterday.  The rise in consumer prices is seen settling between 2.9 percent and 3.8 percent in October  from September’s 3.6 percent, BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., said in a text message to  reporters.  “This reflects a downtrend in price increases as supply of major food groups, including rice, was  sufficient to meet demand. Price of Dubai crude oil also declined,” Tetangco explained.   “These, together with peso appreciation, could have offset increases in domestic prices of  premium and regular kerosene and electricity charges to cause an over‐all slower inflation for  the month,” he added.  Electricity bills went up 12 centavos this month after the Manila Electric Co. raised charges in  line with higher prices at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market. Likewise, Department of Energy  data showed year‐to‐date gasoline and diesel prices rising up by P2.93 per liter and P0.52 per  liter, respectively.  The same data, however, showed that Dubai crude, the benchmark for Asian importers,  decreased $0.15 per barrel at the beginning of the month. The peso, on the other hand, reached  a 55‐month high of 41.16 to a dollar this month.   “The forecast supports our expectation of benign inflation over the policy horizon and should  keep interest rate low for some time,” the BSP chief said.  On Thursday, BSP cut policy rates by 25 basis points to new record‐lows of 3.5 percent and 5.5  percent, pointing to still manageable inflation and the need to support growth amid a fragile  global economy.  As of the third quarter, inflation settled at 3.2 percent, within the BSP’s three‐to five‐percent  target for the year.  “Nevertheless, we are watchful of global developments that could impact on international  commodity prices and on global and domestic aggregate demand,” Tetangco said. 

Employment in agri sector up by 1% over past 5 years  BY Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) Updated October 27, 2012 12:00 AM Comments (1)  View comments  MANILA, Philippines ‐ Employment in the agriculture sector has risen a meager one percent  annually in the past five years, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS).  In a report, BAS said the number of workers in the farm sector rose to 12.27 million in 2011.  The share of agriculture to the country’s total employment fell however to 33 percent in 2011,  an average drop of 1.5 percent since 2007.  Citing date from the National Statistics Office (NSO) and the Bureau of Labor and Employment  Statistics (BLES), BAS noted that in 2010, the country’s population was placed at 94.01 million.  By 2011, the country had a working age population of 61.88 million with 40.01 million  participating in the labor force.  In 2011, a majority of workers in the farm sector (1.22 million) were based in Western Visayas,  growing by an average of 0.5 percent annually from 2007 to 2011.  Workers in Cagayan Valley, central Luzon, Bicol Region, central Visayas, northern Mindanao,  SOCCSKSARGEN, and ARMM numbered between 800,000 to 900,000 per area.  Employment in the farming sector is thinnest in NCR at 31,000, falling by an average of 2.0  percent annually in the past five years.  Declining employment in the sector was likewise seen in CALABARZON, Bicol region and  CARAGA.  The biggest growth in employment was seen in the Ilocos Region, MIMAROPA amd central  Visayas at an average of 2.6 and 2.8 per year in a span of five years respectively.  In terms of the proportion of employment in agriculture to the total employment in regions,  69.8 percent of workers in the ARMM are dependent on farming for a living while 57.9 percent  of workers in Cagayan Valley are supported by farming.  Half of workers in CAR, MIMAROPA, Zamboanga Peninsula and SOCCSKSARGEN were absorbed  by the agricultural sector.  Only 0.7 percent of workers in NCR are engaged in agriculture.  “All regions exhibited declining proportions of agriculture in total employment. The proportions  decreased by 0.4 percent to 4.4 percent per year,” said BAS in the report. 

Almost half of the workers in the farming sector are self‐employed or are employers themselves.  By 2010, these workers in the agricultural sector numbered 5.66 million, representing 47.3  percent of total workers in the farm sector. Of this number, 40.4 percent were self‐employed  while 6.9 percent were employers.  Between 2007 and 2010, the number went down by an average of one percent annually.  The numbers of wage earners and unpaid family wokers rose to 3.29 million and 3.29 million in  2010 respectively, accounting for a fourth of the total agricultural workforce. This was a rise of  3.2 percent annually since 2007.  The average basic salary of P158.20 per day paid to farm workers in 2011 rose an average of 4.5  percent annually since 2007.  Children aged five to 17 years of age are likewise engaged as farm helpers but the number has  been declining since 2007.  “A child is considered working or economically active if at any time during the reference period  he/she is engaged in economic activity for at least one hour. He may be studying, looking for  work and/or housekeeping at the same time. It is important to know how many of these  working children were engaged in any agricultural activities as a measure of child labor,” said  BAS.                       

Phl among leaders in microfinance  By Prinz P. Magtulis (The Philippine Star) Updated October 27, 2012 12:00 AM Comments (0)  View comments  MANILA, Philippines ‐ The Philippines is still among the leading countries promoting the  microfinance industry and even improved its ranking from last year, an annual study showed.  The country ranked fourth out of 55 nations with a score of 63.3 in The Economist Intelligence  Unit’s Global Microscope on the Microfinance Environment. This was better than previous  year’s 58.5 which placed us sixth.  Peru still led the annual ranking for the third straight year, while Vietnam was at the bottom.  In terms of regulatory framework however, the Philippines continued to be No. 1 together with  Peru for the third straight year. They both garnered a score of 80.  We also moved two notches up‐to 15th from 17th‐in terms of institutional framework, which  measures business practices such as financial reporting, transparency, client protection and  credit bureaus.  Meanwhile, despite retaining its 72.5 score from last year, the Philippines went down a notch to  22nd in terms of the industry’s stability which takes into account “political shocks to  microfinance.”  The study noted efforts from various government agencies in justifying the Philippines’  upgraded ranking.  “The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) continues to promote and enabling environment for  microfinance, seeing it as one of its key poverty reduction efforts,” the study noted.  Among others, EIU cited BSP Circular 744 issued last year which allowed banks to grant  microfinance loans up to P300,000 from the original P150,000. This has enabled lenders extend  more assistance to lower‐income borrowers who are otherwise unable to meet stringent  requirements in availing regular loans.    There was also improved transparency, EIU said, noting of the BSP’s order in July, effectively  declaring flat interest rates charged on bank loans as illegal. The study said microfinance  institutions are expected to follow suit, “but the BSP lacks the authority to require them to do  so.”  In issuing the order, the central bank said banks should compute for the correct interest rate for  each loan product they offer. 

On the legislative front, EIU also hailed the passage of a bill in the House of Representatives  allowing up to 40 percent foreign ownership in rural banks which is “likely to be passed by the  Senate later this year.”  Since rural banks are considered primary lenders at the countryside, allowing more foreign  ownership is expected to boost their capital and in effect allow them to take in more risks such  as loans.  On the flipside, the study noted of the need to have a “set of institutions” or “regulatory and  supervision regimes” that would monitor the “relatively fragmented” industry. Aside from BSP,  the Department of Finance is also pitching for microfinance development.                               

Thai agriculture giant eyes incentives from BOI  By Riza T. Olchondra  Philippine Daily Inquirer   1:02 am | Saturday, October 27th, 2012  

Charoen Pokphand Foods Corp., a subsidiary of Thai agro-industrial and food giant CPF, is seeking registration with the Board of Investments (BOI) to enjoy tax breaks and other incentives for its poultry raising business in the Philippines. In its application for tax incentives and other perks, Charoen Pokphand said it wants to produce live chickens with a weight equivalent of 21,847 metric tons year. The company is applying for pioneer status, BOI said, which comes with income tax holidays for six years. Registration offers other incentives. Agricultural producers, for example, are also exempted from paying taxes and duties on imported breeding stocks and genetic materials within ten years from the date of registration or commercial operation. Charoen Pokphand Foods has stock farms at Gerona, Tarlac and at Barangay Partida, San Miguel, Bulacan. It has a hatchery in Jaen, Nueva Ecija. It also has broiler grow-out farms in Bulacan: two in Barangay Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso and four in Barangay Magmarale, San Miguel. In 2007, CPF invested in the Philippines through its direct 99.99 percent holding subsidiary, Charoen Pokphand Foods. The main businesses include farm operations and feeds distribution. Under the feeds business, the local company manufactures and distributes livestock and aquatic feeds in the Philippines. The main products are chicken and swine feeds for sale under the “CP” brand. The company also imports shrimp and fish feeds from Thailand for its own use and for sale to customers under the “CP” and “Blanca” brands. Agriculture, agribusiness and fishery are among the priority sectors listed in the 2012 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) that are eligible for incentives. Other priority sectors are creative industries and knowledge-based services; shipbuilding; mass housing; iron and steel; energy; infrastructure and public private partnership; research and development; green projects; motor vehicles; hospital and medical; disaster prevention, mitigation and recovery projects and strategic projects.

Signed by President Benigno Aquino III in June, the 2012 IPP is “strategically calibrated” to beef up the previous year’s investment generation by presenting new initiatives that will address the existing economic environment and challenges. The IPP is premised on four critical areas: job generation, enhanced delivery of social services, international competitiveness, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. The plan is aligned with the multisectoral Philippine Development Plan, which targets an average 7 to 8 percent growth in the domestic economy per year from 2010 to 2016.‐agriculture‐giant‐eyes‐incentives‐from‐boi                                   

PH among best places for micro enterprises  By Michelle V. Remo  Philippine Daily Inquirer   1:07 am | Saturday, October 27th, 2012  

The Philippines was again named one of the countries with the most favorable environment for micro enterprises, ranking 4th among 55 countries surveyed by the international think tank Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The ranking of the Philippines for this year was a two-notch improvement from 6th place in 2011. According to the report titled “Global Microscope on the Microfinance Business Environment 2012” published by the EIU, regulations imposed by concerned government entities like the central bank helped the Philippines stay in the top 10 countries with the most micro business-friendly environments. “The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) continues to promote an enabling environment for microfinance, seeing it as one of its key poverty-reduction efforts,” EIU said in the report. Some of the regulations in place in the Philippines that were supportive of the development of micro enterprises included the increase in the amount of loans that banks must extend to micro enterprises and the wholesale lending of government-owned banks to benefit micro-enterprise borrowers. The Philippines got a score of 63.3 points (out of 100) in the overall micro business environment. The three countries that outperformed the Philippines were Peru (with a score of 79.8 points), Bolivia (71.8 points) and Pakistan (67.4 points). The countries were ranked based on two major categories, namely “regulatory framework and practices” and “supporting institutional framework.” The first deals with the regulatory environment while the second covers business practices and interaction between micro enterprises and the other parties concerned in their development. The Philippines and Peru were tied on top of the list, with a score of 80 points, in the first category. This achievement was attributed by the BSP to several old and new regulatory

issuances aimed at making credit more accessible to micro enterprises. The Philippines has enjoyed the top slot in this category for four straight years. In the second category, the Philippines was ranked 15th with a score of 50 points. According to the BSP, the Philippines has to realize the long-standing goal of establishing a credit bureau so that the country could significantly improve its ranking in the second category. With a credit bureau, lenders would be more comfortable extending credit even to micro enterprises as long as they have a good history of credit performance. Others that landed in the top 10 countries with the most favorable environment for micro enterprises included Kenya (62.8 points), El Salvador (56.3 points), Colombia (56 points), Cambodia (55.7 points), Mexico (53.6 points) and Panama (53.6 points). The countries that landed on the 10 lowest rankings were Haiti (29.1 points), Argentina (28.8 points), Congo (28.5 points), Sri Lanka (28.2 points), Egypt (27.4 points), Turkey (26.6 points), Thailand (25.5 points), Venezuela (25.2 points), Trinidad and Tobago (24.1 points) and Vietnam (21.5 points).‐among‐best‐places‐for‐micro‐enterprises               

'Ofel' destroys over 50% of palay in Or. Mindoro By Juancho Mahusay The Philippine Star Updated October 27, 2012 12:00 AM 0 comment to this post CALAPAN CITY, Philippines – More than 50 percent of harvestable palay in the whole of Oriental Mindoro has been left destroyed by tropical storm “Ofel” which pummeled the province on Thursday, according to initial reports from the provincial agriculture office. Meanwhile, Ofel left a four-year-old boy dead and a 16-year-old girl injured in Mansalay town, Oriental Mindoro, provincial disaster officials said. Ofel affected more than 2,500 people in the province, they added. 724

NIA releases water from Magat Dam By Charlie Lagasca The Philippine Star Updated October 27, 2012 12:00 AM 0 comment to this post

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines – The Magat Dam along the Ifugao-Isabela boundary released water yesterday in controlled volumes, but the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) downplayed fears of a possible overflow. NIA-Magat Dam engineer Saturnino Tenedor said there was no danger of the dam’s overflowing since the rains were not really that strong over the reservoir. As of 9 a.m. yesterday, the dam’s water elevation stood at 189.95 meters, way below the spilling level of 193 meters. The dam’s inflow was 269 cubic meters per second while the outflow was only 96 cubic meters per second, Tenedor said. 719

Overfishing threatens Phl seas – Greenpeace By Celso Amo The Philippine Star Updated October 27, 2012 12:00 AM 0 comment to this post

DONSOL, Sorsogon, Philippines – The country’s position as a leader in global marine diversity is now threatened by overfishing. “We are an archipelagic nation. Soon, we will become the epicenter of global marine adversity if our government agencies refuse to acknowledge the crisis at sea,” said Vice Cinches, oceans’ campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. Cinches expressed alarm over the unprecedented destruction of the country’s marine ecosystem which he said foreshadows serious health, social and economic impacts aggravated by pollution and global warming. Earlier this year, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said 10 of the country’s 13 fishing grounds are heavily exploited due to illegal and unregulated fishing activities. As a result, the country’s fish production of six million metric tons a year has steadily declined. During a recent public hearing in this town, dubbed as the whale shark capital of the world, fishermen complained that they could barely catch six kilos of fish a day, the average haul that could provide their families a good day’s income. 720

Organic farming meet in Cebu to tackle new trends, practices Cebu Daily News 9:43 am | Sunday, October 28th, 2012 Share Farmers, producers, suppliers of organic produce, and representatives from the agriculture sector across the country will gather to learn new trends in organic farming next month. The 2012 National Organic Agriculture Convention in Mandaue City “is an opportunity to find out about global trends,”said Asst. Secretary Salvador Salacup of the Department of Agriculture (DA). “We have to show to the international community our standards and readiness to supply the growing but very discriminating international market,” he said during a visit last week to Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia. Andre Leu, president of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM), will be the keynote speaker of the convention to be held from Nov. 6 to 8 at the J Center Mall in Mandaue City. IFOAM is the worldwide umbrella organization of organic agriculture movement and has 750 member-organizations. Salacup said that Cebu is considered one of the emerging organic farming centers in the country. Governor Garcia suggested that participants visit organic farms in Aloguinsan town in western Cebu, which has been part of the itinerary of recent Suroy-Suroy midwest caravans. She also suggested a sidetrip for delegates to to try the Bojo River Cruise in the town. Salacup said he is expecting about 1,500 participants to attend the convention. The convention will also discuss topics about standards, food safety, and proper accreditation practices. There will also be a chef’s parade, where chefs will prepare dishes made of organic ingredients. Salacup commended the Cebu provincial government’s thrust in fully implementing the “Organic Agriculture Act of 2010” in the province./Correspondent Carmel Loise Matus

2012 10 27 - QUEDANCOR News Monitor  

News monitor for 2012 10 27

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