Country’s total land area of 30 million hectare (Mha), 9.67 Mha are classified as agricultural land; of which, about 4.94 Mha are arable. Of the total arable land, 3.2 Mha are irrigable. As of 2014, about 56% of the irrigable land has been developed to irrigated farmlands. In terms of coastline, Philippine coastline measures 11.29 km (Department of Agriculture (DA), 2015).
The agriculture sector has always been an important sector to Philippine economy. It is a significant contributor to the country’s GDP. Through the years, however, percentage share of agriculture in total GDP has declined. From 11.58% contribution to GDP in 2010, this has been reduced to 9.43% in 2015. As regards to employment, about 11.29 million Filipinos are engaged in agriculture and fishery production in 2015, representing about 30% of the country’s labor force from 2011 to 2015 (DA, 2015).
The agriculture sector is one of the sectors most vulnerable to climate change. For instance, from 2011 to 2015, the sector suffered much loss in terms of crop production and damage to infrastructure due to calamities hitting the Philippines valued at PhP 163 billion. This amount includes the income forgone due to production losses of 2.9 million tons of rice and 1.02 million tons of corn. The damage and losses brought about by the calamities suppressed the growth of the agriculture sector (DA, 2015).
Aside from typhoons, the agriculture sector is highly vulnerable to the effects of El Niño phenomenon. The most recent El Niño affected nine regions of the Philippines, five of which are found in Mindanao. The severe dry spell caused by El Nino resulted in damage and production losses in crops amounting to PhP 2.27 billion. In addition, about 57,111 metric tons of crops were lost including rice, corn, high value crops (banana and rubber) (Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 2015).
The agriculture sector’s emissions comprise about 29% (or 37 MtCO2e) of the Philippines’ total GHG emissions for the year 2000 (Philippines’ SNC). About 44% of the sector’s emissions come from rice cultivation while around 24% is emitted by agricultural soils. Assuming that BAU scenario continues, total emissions of the agriculture sector by 2030 can reach 50 MtCO2e. Thus, if mitigation strategies in the agriculture sector are put in place, it is certain that substantial amount of GHGs will be prevented from being released to the atmosphere.
In the NFSCC, the agriculture sector is not included among the key result areas for mitigation but included as a key result area for adaptation. This is perhaps due to the sector’s vulnerability to the adverse impacts of climate change as crops rely heavily on rainfall availability. While the agriculture sector is not included as an area for mitigation, it is worthwhile that mitigation actions be undertaken because as earlier mentioned, the sector’s share in the country’s total GHG emissions is substantial.
For additional information on the Sectoral Climate Change Mitigation Action for the Agriculture sector, please contact Department of Agriculture - Climate Resilient Agriculture Office at email@example.com.