Poverty incidence among the fishers, farmers reflect misery life in the countryside — group
Manila, Philippines — “Even the government is unable to hide the reality that people in the countryside, especially farmers and fishers, are the most impoverished sectors. How could they assure people that returning to the countryside, through its ‘balik-probinsya’ program, will uplift their lives when poverty and hunger are more chronic in rural communities,” According to the national fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Friday, reacting to the recent report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) which showed that farmers, fishers and rural folks are among the sectors with the highest poverty incidence with 31.6%, 26.2%, and 24.5%, poverty rates, respectively.
“It is both manifestation of the lack of opportunity in the countryside and absence of institutional support of the national and local governments and their agencies to small fishers and farmers. While major problems besetting the rural people include landlessness and unequal utilization of agricultural and fishery resources worsen the hardships of the rural sectors,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA claimed that fishing production in the country is characterized by “backward, scattered, and small-scale” which is being worsened by the high cost of production caused by subsequent oil price hikes and government’s tax reform policies that trigger inflation.
Farmers and fishers, the group added, are being dispossessed of their lands and coastal communities due to rampant land-grabbing, land-use conversions, large-scale mining, and conversion of coastal areas into eco-tourism zones and aquaculture plantations.
“Clearly, the government’s ‘balik-probinsya’ program is ill-planned as it does not address how it will resolve the systematic poverty in the countryside,” ended Hicap. ###