Is Doomsday Coming for Philippine Agriculture?

AP Reader Dave Hojilla poses a very valid concern that Doomsday for Philippine agriculture is coming because “After distributing 4.119 million hectares* of agri land to farmer-beneficiaries nationwide, we lease close to 1.5 million hectares to foreign corporations for 25-50 years.”.

I agree with Dave that doomsday might be coming for Philippine Agriculture – particularly the Philippine Sugar Industry. There are various scenarios which can be proposed on the policy changes – for this post, I will focus instead on what can be done – if headwinds are such that there will be no immediate change in the CARP-ER. Much like US Medicare and Social Security – both Democrats and Republicans know they will be hitting huge deficits based on the current industry structure, yet cutting the deficit caused by these entitlements is a politically charged issue – and both Dems and GOP will not touch the issue… until the Tea Party’s “nuts” came along. Then, the GOP and the Dems adopt a bipartisan consensus on reforming entitlements.

Philippine politics however has yet to come to a consensus on how to deal with CARP. While I take the view that the best solution is to abolish CARP, abolish DAR, open the economy, generate and support more entrepreneurs – it will take time to muster political will given that Congress is stacked with collectivist and populist politicians who pander to their base – and will fight the abolition of CARP – it’s a great cause – albeit misguided. How CARP ruins agricultural development was discussed very well by BenK – and he provided some solid policy fixes. I have also joined his call for abolishing CARP and the DAR. But I know – it is wishful thinking at this point. Thus, I switch hats – and be more pragmatic about the current state of affairs – the AS-IS.

Assuming that there will not be any policy change on agrarian reform anytime soon what can the Philippine agriculture industry do to become more competitive and profitable? Globalization and multilateral free trade agreements are here to stay – and we can fear it, hate it – or embrace it. The former is easy – allow me to present the case for the latter – embracing it – against the backdrop of CARP as we know it today. What can landowners, farmers, corporate farms and cooperatives do.

A good model is provided by Australia’s sugar industry – which operationally is similar to the Philippine sugar industry – but ownership of the various operations in the suppy chain and the value chain are more diverse. In contrast, the Philippine sugar industry has yet to adopt a similar approach. Before I get ahead of myself, allow me to present a model of the sugar industry’s supply chain:

Sugar Industry Supply Chain

As described in


Sugar is grown in many countries around the world. It is produced from sugar cane in countries with warm climates and from sugar beet in cooler climates. Sugar cane grows best in tropical or subtropical areas due to the high temperatures and regular rain supply these climates provide. Australia produces raw sugar from sugar cane grown primarily in Queensland’s subtropical and tropical coastal regions. Sugar cane is also grown in the subtropical north of New South Wales.


Sugar cane can take between 10 and 16 months to grow before it is ready for harvest between June and December. Harvesting begins by burning the crop to reduce the amount of leaves, weeds and other matter which can make harvesting and milling operations difficult. Farmers use a machine called a harvester to gather the crop. It moves along the rows of sugar cane. As it does so it removes the remaining leafy tops of the cane stalks, cuts the stalks off at ground level and chops the cane into small lengths called billets. The billets are loaded into wire bins towed alongside by a tractor. These field transporters take the harvested sugar cane to collection areas known as cane pads. At the cane pads, the billets are transferred into very large bins ready to be collected and taken to the mill. The sugar mills have to organise collections from each of the cane pads in their catchment area. The mill companies use road transport service providers to co-ordinate this task. This is an important job. Sugar quality and its value reduce over time. Sugar cane should be harvested and delivered to the mill within 16 hours. If the farms are a long way from the mill, rail transport might also be used.

Transport providers often use technology to help them deliver an efficient and effective service. They can use GPS systems to locate the relevant cane pads and have electronic tracking devices on the billet bins to help them track and record the movement of each farmer’s produce.

Farmers often belong to a co-operative which owns or works with the sugar mills. Mills need to process the sugar cane straight away to ensure quality. If too much sugar cane is delivered at one time and cannot be processed, the sugar will decrease in quality and the farmer will lose money. The mill also needs to make sure that it has enough sugar cane to process to stay open. The mills and the farmers work together to plan their crop and harvest to ensure no sugar cane is wasted and the mill has a sufficient supply. Each farmer within the co-operative is allocated a time within the season to harvest the different sections of their farm to ensure the optimum supply of sugar to the mills.


On arrival at the mill, the billets are weighed and washed. This weight is recorded so the mill knows how much to pay the farmer. The cane is then fed through a series of mill rollers to extract the sugar juice which is treated to have impurities removed. The sugar juice is heated to evaporate any water leaving a thick syrup called molasses in which raw sugar crystals will form. A machine called a centrifuge separates the raw sugar crystals from the syrup. The raw sugar is tumble-dried and placed in large storage bins and sorted for transport. This bulk sugar is transported to the refineries directly or to bulk terminals by road or rail.

If the sugar is being exported, it is stored in the bulk terminals until it is needed for shipment. Then it is transported via conveyors straight to the wharf and loaded into the ship’s hold.

Although sugarcane is only harvested between June and December the refineries operate all-year-round. They need a constant supply of raw sugar so access supplies from the bulk terminals where it is stockpiled.

When the raw sugar arrives at the refinery the final impurities in the sugar are removed. The sugar is then graded into required sizes and packaged. Orders are assembled and dispatched to the refinery’s customers, including food manufacturers, by road or rail.



Why do the farmers and mills have to co-ordinate their harvesting schedule?
Why is raw sugar stockpiled in the bulk terminals?
Why do the billet bins have electronic tags?
Why is efficient transport to the mill so important?
What information do you think the transport providers need to co-ordinate the collection of billet bins?

The diagram below shows a model of the value chain of the agriculture industry.

What is a Value Chain

Agriculture Value chain - adopted from Inclusive Technologies

The execution of functions throughout the value chain can be just by one entity – or multiple entities – which in turn can be vertically horizontally integrated – or outsourced.

the term vertical integration describes a style of management control. Vertically integrated companies in a supply chain are united through a common owner. Usually each member of the supply chain produces a different product or (market-specific) service, and the products combine to satisfy a common need. It is contrasted with horizontal integration.

Vertical integration is one method of avoiding the hold-up problem. A monopoly produced through vertical integration is called a vertical monopoly, although it might be more appropriate to speak of this as some form of cartel.

Nineteenth century steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie introduced the idea of the existence and use of vertical integration. This led other businesspeople to use the system to promote better financial growth and efficiency in their companies and businesses.


Vertical expansion

is the growth of a business enterprise through the acquisition of companies that produce the intermediate goods needed by the business or help market and distribute its product. Such expansion is desired because it secures the supplies needed by the firm to produce its product and the market needed to sell the product. The result is a more efficient business with lower costs and more profits.

Related is lateral expansion, which is the growth of a business enterprise through the acquisition of similar firms, in the hope of achieving economies of scale.

Vertical expansion is also known as a vertical acquisition. Vertical expansion or acquisitions can also be used to increase scales and to gain market power. The acquisition of DirectTV by News Corporation is an example of forward vertical expansion or acquisition. DirectTV is a satellite TV company through which News Corporation can distribute more of its media content: news, movies, and television shows. The pending acquisition of NBC by Comcast Cable (as of January 16, 2010) is an example of backward vertical integration.

Of course, protecting the public from communications monopolies that can be built in this way is one of the missions of the Federal Communications Commission.

the term horizontal integration describes a type of ownership and control. It is a strategy used by a business or corporation that seeks to sell a type of product in numerous markets. Horizontal integration in marketing is much more common than vertical integration is in production. Horizontal integration occurs when a firm is being taken over by, or merged with, another firm which is in the same industry and in the same stage of production as the merged firm, e.g. a car manufacturer merging with another car manufacturer. In this case both the companies are in the same stage of production and also in the same industry. This process is also known as a “buy out” or “take-over”.

A monopoly created through horizontal integration is called a horizontal monopoly.

A term that is closely related with horizontal integration is horizontal expansion. This is the expansion of a firm within an industry in which it is already active for the purpose of increasing its share of the market for a particular product or service.

Philippine Agriculture Industry vs Other Countries

Philippine Agriculture Industry vs Other Countries Activity in the Value Chain

I have no information to make a determination that the agricultural corporations and coops have made a serious effort about product positioning, and identifying their core strengths – and outsourcing areas where they don’t have expertise to companies that have the ability to provide the service better and cheaper than they can. My take is that the Philippine agriculture industry – just like any other industry in the Philippines has not bothered to re-evaluate their business models in the light of a dynamic global economy.

Our competitors have more diversity – while we are still bent on the pre-CARP days of a monopolist – vertically and horizontally integrated sugar – and agricultural industry – in general.

Japan for instance has a very active cooperative activity in the rice sector. In fact it has been seen as an obstacle to corporate farming – and keeping rice farmers quite happy – and politicians who keep the rice farmers happy – get re-elected. In the Philippines however, our way of keeping rice farmers happy – went overboard with its anti big landowner bias. As a matter of reflection – what if the situations were reversed – and the farmers were now huge landowners – and their holdings will be carved, how would they feel about it?

Going beyond the identification of gaps – the Philippine agricultural industry needs to start talking within the industry to identify their businesses positioning in the value chain – and the supply chain – and recalibrate their ownership structure – and identify more innovative models that result in a win-win.

The challenge as shown in the above illustration is to move the Philippines from its fixation on vertical and horizontal integration as the only way towards agricultural development and nudge it towards where its competitors are curently situated. The greater sophistication of the industry structure of our competitors reflect the entrepreneurial bent of their cultures in comparison to the Philippines more timid culture – only few individuals are willing to take the risk, lots are more inclined to wait it out – iwas pusoy – This was well documented in a study on cultural differences – In his bestselling book Culture’s Consequences, Geert Hofstede proposed four dimensions on which the differences among national cultures can be understood: Individualism, Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance and Masculinity.

The following section applies only to the risk takers – proceed at your own risk. Of course, without risk – the reward isn’t that high 🙂

Enter Outsourcing. We have been so used to the concept of outsourcing as something that comes from overseas. Outsourcing can also be applied in our own backyard. As explained in

Outsourcing refers to a company that contracts with another company to provide services that might otherwise be performed by in-house employees. Many large companies now outsource jobs such as call center services, e-mail services, and payroll. These jobs are handled by separate companies that specialize in each service, and are often located overseas.

There are many reasons that companies outsource various jobs, but the most prominent advantage seems to be the fact that it often saves money. Many of the companies that provide outsourcing services are able to do the work for considerably less money, as they don’t have to provide benefits to their workers and have fewer overhead expenses to worry about.

Outsourcing also allows companies to focus on other business issues while having the details taken care of by outside experts. This means that a large amount of resources and attention, which might fall on the shoulders of management professionals, can be used for more important, broader issues within the company. The specialized company that handles the outsourced work is often streamlined, and often has world-class capabilities and access to new technology that a company couldn’t afford to buy on their own. Plus, if a company is looking to expand, outsourcing is a cost-effective way to start building foundations in other countries.

There are some disadvantages to outsourcing as well. One of these is that outsourcing often eliminates direct communication between a company and its clients. This prevents a company from building solid relationships with their customers, and often leads to dissatisfaction on one or both sides. There is also the danger of not being able to control some aspects of the company, as outsourcing may lead to delayed communications and project implementation. Any sensitive information is more vulnerable, and a company may become very dependent upon its outsource providers, which could lead to problems should the outsource provider back out on their contract suddenly.

Putting it all together:

The various industry players – tier 1, tier 2, farmers, millers, landowners, workers unions, cooperatives, corporate can sit on the table and comprehensive tackle the following:

  1. Identify each of the players positions in the entire supply chain.
  2. For each company, evaluate its value chain – keep the core function, outsource other operations that don’t have value-added.
  3. Craft a project plan to synchronize production that leverages economies of scale  through industry linkages.
  4. Enable industry linkages that stimulate consolidation of production without prejudice to ownership of the operations.
  5. Develop Industry-standard operating procedures to become more efficient, cost-effective, resilient, and highly competitive.
  6. Access to low interest working capital either through innovative financing arrangements with Tier 1 players – or in lieu, the Land Bank or even the PNB.
  7. Deploy public-private interagency pursuit teams that can generate more strategic sales leads and revenue.

These measures may not have the maximum effect as the optimal solution of abolishing CARP and the DAR – but can mitigate the losses by changing the way we think about our business models, our competition, and our markets – about the way we do business with the world. After all – we can’t expect to have different results if we use the same methods in a changed business environment – remember the dinosaurs, the mammals and the Ice Age?

The challenge is quite simple – can the industry get its act together, sit on the table, and dig or climb or jump or get a lifeline out of the hole that CARP has dug for the industry. Government has done a lousy job – it’s about time time for private enterprise to show its wares and step up to the plate.

Cmon guys – there are other uses for sugar cane than sugar – the ethanol market is a SELLERS market – and even more profitable. But that’s a blog post for another day.

And that’s my two cents worth of bulsyetan. Have a good one.



  1. I do believe the points raised above are all being done and in fact has been started for many years now. For example, a haciendero no longer keeps a fleet of trucks to move his cane to the mill, he outsources this function to hauling companies. Milling companies are letting go of non core businesses, like the canning business of Victorias. Heck, even labor for harvesting of sugar cane has been outsourced since time immemorial. Sakadas are not necessarily farm employees. Why do you think they do not have benefits? Cos they only work when there is cane to be cut.

    I think one of the greatest obstacles is lack of mechanization. Since labor in pinas is cheap, there is no incentive for the haciendero to buy a mechanized harvester even if he can afford it. Add to that the displeasure you will get from farm laborers if they know that 20 of them will be replaced by 1 machine operated by 1 man. So in this instance, cost trumps efficiency.

    As for ethanol, well, that’s one prickly issue. The ethanol industry is struggling due to a number of factors. One, lack of government support in implementing laws that could help the industry. Two, proliferation of low cost imported ethanol. Another is the high price of sugar in the market. What farmer in his right mind would sell his cane to the ethanol plant if he can get more by processing that cane into sugar?

    I am still hopeful for the agriculture industry in the Philippines. The movement may be small and slow, but it’s there. For one, organic farming is steadily growing, and with that other related industries. AIDFI’s win on the BBC world challenge will also work magic once farmers start to implement the technology for their irrigation needs.

    Overall the situation may not be as grim as we think. One very big solution that I can see here is not just stakeholders sitting and discussing strategies, but also to encourage young people to enter into agriculture studies, and convince OFWs to invest in agri-tourism business. This, we can immediately do, and we can have considerable results in a short period of time.

  2. ulong pare · ·

    daaaang!… speaking from the bottom of the heap>>> my neighbor, a co-farmer, sold his parcel of land and ‘bakwet to ‘merka… our farms (adjoining) are located in a prime area with irrigation, cleap labor, and ready market… perfect for an entrepreneural independent agri biz… but, he likes to “taste” the ‘merkan lifestyle… he’s jealous of his istetsayd kamag-anaks who visit flipland as “tourists” in their own backyard… fast forward… while loitering in ‘merka, i saw my neighbor&his family squatting in his relatives’ garage… no real job, no ride (kasi, walang driver’s license), etc., etc… gone was his happy-go-lucky attitude… he’s enslave into doing floor management (mop&buff) at night and car detailing during the day, while waiting for a pis kleener gig at Seafood City… BUTI NGA!!!! (me, singing >>> planting is rice is never fun, tra la la la la.. tra la la)

  3. you the man home boy
    your neighbor ought to have diversified his skillset – farmer na basurero pa…
    eh di sana.. happy go luck pa rin siya.. kept his farm… araw gabi sa piling ni rosaryo.. ‘merkan lifestyle..
    golden parachute in da pinas.. multi purpose – hindi lang pampamilya.. pang isports pa .. 😀

  4. kusinero,

    the rate of diffusion of innovation and diversificatoin in the various segments of the agriculture industry seems to vary based on

    a) crop – banana, sugar, rice, orchids, coca, coconut

    b) geographic area – Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao

    c) usage of land – poultry, livestock, plantation, horticulture

    In some areas, the diffusion spread as the early adopters who diversified from plantation crops to more high value crops like fruits (Cojuangco’s durian plantation in Malita, Davao del Sur is one helluva source of revenue peeps -which has nitrogen infusing peanuts in between) , flowers, bee-keeping, organic vegetables,

    Some areas are in a state of entropy and are have a very active resistance to change – obviously, using the same old business models in a changed business environment will not necessarily yield the same revenue streams – it’s simple really – innovate and compete or DIE – no ifs, no buts.


    The Global Market for Ethanol

    As to ethanol, allow me to give a heads-up on what’s going on in the US ethanol industry:

    Domestic production is expected to fall behind domestic demand. The policy paper on Bioethanol produced by the Ethanol Program Consultative Committee reports that by the year 2010, the US sugar quota will end and the country will start to have significant amounts of sugar, increasing to about 800 thousand metric tons by 2014. However, the estimated ethanol requirement for transport will be equivalent to 51.71 million metric tons of sugarcane at the same year.

    to repeat – the US sugar industry can only make 800 THOUSAND MT of ethanol in 2014- for that same year – the demand will be 51.71 MILLION MT – the subsidies are going away even as we speak.

    the math tells me that by 2014, there will be a shortfall of 50.91 MILLION METRIC TONS – players in the Philippine sugar industry still have time to get their acts together, sit down on the bargaining table and craft a plan so that the sugar industry can profit from these bonanza… it’s all about preparation my friends – a wave is coming – be ready to ride it when it comes – our competitors are gearing up their production – and in case ya’ll haven’t been paying attention

    This is extracted from a Business Plan I wrote in 2007.

    The Domestic Ethanol Industry: Trends

    According to the Philippine DOE’s Bioethanol fuel program implementation, 2007 will the beginning year for ethanol production. New ethanol production facilities will be installed within a period of 1 to 5.2 years starting from 2007.

    There are already five ethanol processing plants being planned for construction. Two will be built by Bronzeoak in Negros and Bukidnon. Another one in Negros is being eyed to be put up by a group led by Rep. Ignacio Arroyo, while another group of businessmen is also planning to construct a plant in the Silay area. A sugar planters association in Tarlac is also eyeing to build one ethanol plant in the said area. Industry estimates show that some P1.5 billion in investments is needed to put up a 20- to 25-megawatt (MW) co-generation plant and at least P550 million for an 80,000-liter capacity distillery plant.
    Investors have been waiting for the passage of the Biofuels Law so they could start pouring in fresh capital in this industry. “We are optimistic that more investors will come in once the bill is passed into law,” Zubiri said. HB 4629 has been unanimously approved on third and final reading. Zubiri is also hopeful both houses of Congress will pass the bill into law not later than February 2007.

    “We believe that we should give priority to this bill as this will not only be pro-consumers but will also help provide a cleaner environment and create new jobs,” he said. Once passed, the bill will mandate a five-percent blend of bioethanol in gasoline products used in transportation sector. According to Zubiri, two years after the passage of the bill, the country would need to put up at least five ethanol processing plants. By 2008, another five ethanol processing facilities should be constructed.

    By 2010, the country would need 20 ethanol plants to meet the five-percent blend demand. He said there are other areas which are being eyed as potential sites for these facilities. These are Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, and Cagayan Valley. “We would need at least five ethanol plants in Luzon,” he added.

    Major competitors

    NDCNDC—Bronzeoak Fuel Ethanol and Power Plant:
    Location: San Carlos City, Negro Occidental
    Investment: P1.5 billion (USD 30,000,000, USD1=PHP50)
    Ethanol Distillery: 100,000 liters/day; 30 million liters/year (7.8 million gallons/year)
    Cogeneration Plant: Plant:9—MW
    Timeline: 1Q 2006 (construction); 2ndHalf 2007 (operation)

    Two more prospective ethanol producers in Visayas area

    Marubeni Corporation

    Japanese industrial giant Marubeni Corp. plans to put up at least five ethanol-run co-generation/distillery plants in the Philippines, a lawmaker said yesterday. (Japanese industrial giant Marubeni Corp. plans to put up at least five ethanol-run co-generation/distillery plants in the Philippines, a lawmaker said yesterday. (Source: Donnabelle L. Gatdula, The Philippine Star)

    Asia Generation Corp

    Philippines Rep. Juan Miguel Zubiri, the main author of House Bill 4629 or the Biofuels Act of 2005, said Marubeni officials expressed their intention to put up the plants during a meeting last week. He said Marubeni is looking at thepossibility of bidding for the construction of five ethanol plants in San Carlos, Bukidnon and other areas in Negros. Marubeni has been a long-time player in the Philippine power sector. It has contracted a number of power projects for renewable energy sources such as geothermal and coal. Aside from Marubeni, Zubiri said Asia Generation Corp., an independent power producer (IPP) based in economic zones in southern Luzon, has also expressed interest to form a consortium that would put up an ethanol plant in the area.

    Competitors’ Strength and Weaknesses

    Major competitors have focused mainly on the use of sugar cane as feed stock. Polaris Energy, Inc. will be planting Jerusalem artichokes which have higher ethanol yields per ton. Thus, less land and biomass will be required to produce the same amount of ethanol or more ethanol can be produced from the same volume of biomass or area of land planted to feedstock.

    Size of competitors compared to the Business

    The competitors are into large scale production of ethanol.

    Condition of Competitors Business

    The competitors are in the introductory stage. Competitors operation will start in 2007.

    Competitors Similarity/Difference from the Business

    The competitors are similar to the business in terms of the final product – 190 proof bioethanol.

    The difference between our business and the competitor is that we use the Jerusalem artichoke, a plant which has higher ethanol yield than sugar cane.

    In terms of location, the Luzon-based fuel ethanol production facilities operated by Polaris Energy, Inc is closer to the fuel blending facilities in Bataan – thus keeping the handling costs to a minimum level. Note however, that due to demand outstripping supply, bioethanol produced in Visayas and Mindanao will still be purchased by fuel blending companies like SeaOil, Flying V, UniOil, Caltex, Shell, and Petron.

  5. ulong pare · ·

    dang!… it irritates the heck out of me if flips sell their land and use the proceed to gamble his/her fate on foreign shores… whereas, my hats off to homeys who own nothing but education and/or guts to venture out to secure capital to start-up biz at home… there are a lot of left-behind (local) flips who are willing to till a portion of the land for a 50/50 split in produce… tamad/burgis land owners don’t hafta break a sweat to have fresh rice, kamote y kang kongs at the end of the season… through hard work and perseverance, hampas-lupa/amoy-lupa, ‘sang kahig-‘sang tuka (that’s me) could gain/receive free food staples (and sell the remainder for cell phone load) without owning land… and guess what, i don’t hafta ‘bakwet to hong kong as supermaid/super hugas pfwets… or be a japayuki at prof. meriam q’s land of the rising sun…

  6. On Subsidies

    Let me quote straight from the horses’ mouth – a horse called Milton Friedman


  7. ulong pare · ·

    dang!… piggeries/poulrty farming in the heart of mukloserfdom is a good alternative…. the pork for export (not fo local consumption) to ‘tang inang imperial manila and beyond…. since pork is carne-non-grata in bangsamorons (silent n), it’s muklos way of invading padre damasos’ devout katolickdicks lair… kaksuckers will suffer from high cholesterol/heart attacks while allah gung gongs will get rich and richer… and, they can afford to buy more ammos and backhoes to kill their fellow gung gongs… everybody wins, di ba?

  8. Speaking of other segments in the agricultural industry and bangamoron – I did lay down more specific proposal in “Post-Ampatiuan Mindanao, where To From Here”

    Opening land for agriculture, distributing seeds and fertilizer for cultivation, irrigating land, providing skills training, creating jobs through establishing mass-employment basic industries, creating agricultural and fisheries cooperatives and providing micro-financing based on Islamic principles.

    Policy and technical advice on poverty eradication.

    Create sustainable micro lending programs with preferential terms and rates to women’s groups.

    Create a venue/mechanism for facilitating trade and supply agreements between beneficiaries and regional markets. First as a cash market, then futures and options.

    Producers, exporters, consolidators, farmers and speculators can trade agricultural, forestry and fishery products in a stable and reliable trading environment, that offers the liquidity, the product line and the oversight to ensure fair and accurate trading for all its participants.

    Provide policy and technical advice to assist the production-based financed enterprises to transform themselves into more productive and competitive knowledge-based undertakings by providing policy and technical advice.

    Identify key growth areas (i.e. agriculture, fisheries and forest products) and strategies to raise incomes.


    The good news is – I gather from the grape vine that the proposals were approved for funding to the tune of $16M by an overseas development bank that is supportive of the muklos.

    The bad news is – someone from tang inang imperial Manila newly minted by the retarded doofus president – made representations in Riyadh to have the funds released to them instead of the proponents. The bank got confused with the sudden interest from the tenants of the Pasig River – baka yan pa ang daihlan kung ba’t ang Saudi Ambassador was being suspected of assisting OBL wannabes? wat da pak.

    Cmon – if they want the fakkin war to stop – give people breathing space to build an economy – or building an economy has never been the intention in the first place dahil… merong oyel – black gold – who needs agribusiness when the muklos are floating an oyel in the Liguasan Marsh all the way to Jolo – maybe the plan is to wipe out the muklos to get to the oil – para bang guns, germs, and gold.

    ang muklo naman, spending so much time on alalalalala – when they should be spending time on how they can use the oyel so they can get tanginang manila to get off their backs – thus far.. only Datu Toto Paglas had his act together – but shit happens. and mornic muklos are back to square 1 of their rido bulsyet.

  9. There was this feature on GMA 7, I dunno which program exactly, which showed Filipinos squatting in the US. I didn’t know that there was such a population. Wonder if some of these guys come from your hood, Ulong. 😛 

  10. Renato Pacifico · ·

    We have no agriculture to speak about.  It is a losing proposition.  Whenever I go to SM consumers look for Vietnamese and Thai rice over Philippine rice.  Philippine rice from Ilo-ilo is superb but too expensive.

  11. kusinero – regarding ethanol – check out this draft on ethanol operations – the principal developed a heart condition – and the project died a natural death. It’s waste to see all the preparation go to naught – feel free to update and give more meat and bones to the subsequent sections.

    there’s always the alternative – complain about the dearth of opportunities – while competitors are making hay.


  12. ulong pare · ·

    @chinof: dang! … it’s true… all over ‘kalipornya’s fliptownships… one example >>> spring valley, a suburb outside of insane diego county. it’s also known as the “bamboo hut” inhabited by flipflams who used to own mansions, bimmers, chedengs, louis vuitton, etchastera, etc… and adorned with ‘sang tambaks na blings (parang xmas tree in july) in flipflams parties… fell on hard times during the bust… i assisted ICE/SDPD (just in case, they needed an interpreter) in rounding them up… found out, i wasn’t needed… ‘coz TANGALOG not spoklong by our downtrodden UP grads!… bwi hi hi hi hi hi pwi… maybe, from your ‘hood? doncha think???

  13. ulong pare · ·

    @bonbv: dang!…. a certain senatong lukaret muklo legarda and her fellow muklo reps/tongressmen (all bangsamoron inhabitants) from the south of ‘tang inang imperial manila are tapped to head the deal… allah ahkbar instructed the bangsamoron inhabitants to divert and/or use the OIC petrodolyares for something worthwhile… buy mansions in ayala-alabang gated communes… ‘sang tambaks na traposakals from da south give manila a bad rap… Q: why do muklo magnanakaws like to live in ‘tang inang imperial manila’s gated community??? and import ‘sang tambaks na slaves from their serfdom?

  14. Yeah, baka galing ‘hood ko rin.. dang talaga, pare. 

  15. i got a pango snub-nosed friend with the thickest accent – and his englistscheze suck.

    but he just closed a deal with the VA – Veteran’s admin – to stock the commissary in Insane Diego with … pansit, suka, toyo, bihon, bigas from da pinas – and to top it off.. he is from Daytona, Florida.. lulz – ain’t from UP or Arneo… but by golly – he can give em losers jobs.. besides his thickly accented bicolano englitchze – his a JOB CREATOR, an EMPLOYER, and investor.

    funas-pwets laughed at him years before – because well – he wasn’t punas pwet and was contented selling corndogs, living on the road as a NASCAR concessionaire – dang… he didn’t see much punas pwets in every NASCAR race – but he sure see lotsa greenbacks, benjamins and dead presidents –

    drives an MB CLK20 as his only luxury – other than that – the dude is into a lot of things together with godfather sniper – incl hunting deer in Kansas with the retired hooyas 😉

  16. ulong pare · ·

    dang!… in ‘merka, ‘sang tambaks na farmers market sprung up just about every day… it’s manned by small time farmers (organic or not) and they are making decent money with low overhead… ‘merkans are reverting back to consuming local produce vice produce imported from the south of the border, which, in all account chemically grown and a genetically altered piece of science projects… flips are excellent retailers of local produce… i used to sell ampalaya, kang kong and talong in da bangketa… my talong sold the fastest… i made decent pesos for my ‘sang tambaks na anak sa labas… i know that flips would not dare be seen selling veggis in da bangketa… it’s so bakya…

  17. ulong pare · ·

    dang! i need to hook up with godfather snipe and big al to revive the isnebi enterprise triumvirate… maybe, one of this days, coupled with your expertise, we can drum up something… godfather snipe and big al are ship-repair gurus/experts… maybe they can start sumtin, i.e. ship repair contracting, in SRF subic or down in your hood… unc sammy will be busy patrolling the the pearl of the orient seas… tsekwa’s flexing its moo goo gai pan in the spratleys… that’s a no no…

  18. Hyden Toro · ·

    With our Feudalism in place; and made secure by the biggest Feudal Lord of the country: Noynoy Aquino, and his Hacienda Luisita Mafia. Haciendas may turn up as corporate farms; with tenant-tillers becoming: Virtual Serf…Feudalism mutating in our digital age? I only thought that you can mutate only: animals, plants, viruses, microbes, etc…you can also mutate an ancient system of land ownership called:Feudalism…

  19. Dapat magtanim nalang sila ng kamote kung saan sila nag-squat, tapos ibenta nila… hehehe

  20. heads up – fort bonifacio – nebi modernization program, i gather lots of RFPs and RFQs floating around. check with itim na tubig pilipinas – head is another hooya from Tribo numero tres or something- per ninong snipes. cross referenced it with egots from orlando (ex basurero as well) who want in and were in sfo during BSA3 visit with Ayala and oligarch boys who are “gatekeepers” of fort bonifacio. you and big all gotta visit the ninong’s crib and take his boxster for a spin down to the cubanas in miami… olalalala

  21. abangan.. bongv’s lumpiaan, tapsilog, pansitan, adobong mani, and mami – sa daytona flea market.. pang gas
    and kinda fun watching all the EYE CANDY in the flea market… yeeeahhhhaaa
    – i need suggestions for a brand name.. lol – am big on branding

    – test the market – doing due diligence on what sells and what not.
    remind me to wear a bakya when the register goes kachin kaching….
    one step at a time.. homey..

  22. Hyden: Feudalism can be explained in classic terms – a land monopoly.

  23. magnanakaws of the same feather flock together – muklo, and katolicklick – traposakal from north, south, east, west – they all congregate in tangnang imperial manila becoz that’s where the pie is divided – if you are late and not “in” – that means getting 3% of the x% of the Road Tax Fund while those who are in get 10% of x% of the Road Tax Fund – that’s how to shut up the party list lefties like Ted Casino, Walden Bello, Hontiveros – para 10% – dapat nasa tete-a-tete.. golf in alabang.. country club in batangas.. night life in shangrila.. you know the drill

  24. ulong pare · ·

    @renpac: dang! … i don’t eat local, viet, or thai bird seed (rice)…. to satisfy my exquisite taste, i only eat calrose, basmati, and rca >>> all padala by my beloved auntie sa ‘merka via balikbayan boxes…

  25. ulong pare · ·

    dang! … i peddled bottled water (on the beach) during summer in hellish tehas… got cases from sams for cheap, sold ‘sang dolyar per bote… hay naku, the sun’s a killer on my eskinol w/papaya extract whitened porselana skin though… i looked like a hampas lupang magsasaka/probinsyano from wadab…

  26. ulong pare · ·

    bongv: land monopoly acquired via flipland land-grab system >>> pay the taong municipio/bureau of land for titulo; and, pay npa/muklo to get rid of the land “occupants”… or, to be humane, send the occupants to ‘tang inang imperial manila as squats…

  27. ulong pare · ·

    bongv: dang! … i am no longer worthy of godfather’s and big al’s company >>> please relay to the godfather… i betrayed them… currently, i’m an Army b!tch… lol!

  28. now that you mentioned it.. had lots of fun checking out bollywood look alikes as waiter in an Indian first class restaurant in Memphis … landscaping and sodding as construction worker for ALF – with chicanos and colombianos… transporter – of groceries – fill a sienna van to the brim with groceries from NY oriental sore and drive down to Tampa bay and cavort with Baywatch mamasitas.. selling surpus office supplies in a Haitian flea market in North Miami.. and from sodding ALFs…. graduated to residential landscaping – bossing was worker for State parks with certs in horticulture – dang.. i was so buff.. hukay ba naman ng tig-iisang bulldozer’s load of buhanging, bato, pag swerte – mulch.. ang hampaslupa kong kamay – hardened kalyo to match my dos y media… like na like ni britney spears.. nya hahahaha

  29. dang.. how could you betray your origins… you you… hooya… lol –

    gator egots are ex-army bitches.. selling bote and garapa in kenya’s border – wanting to get discount for basura made in your malalaguna hood – FERFRAN SOAR 5.56 MM CQB to protect diamond fields from poachers 🙂




  30. ano pa nga ba… eto pa

    or have giyerang patani… then lease the abandoned “no man’s land” –
    ala e talagang magiging no man’s land – napuno na ng palm oil ng NDC-Guthrie

  31. Dave Hojilla · ·

    The Philippine sugar industry’s proactive solution to Free Trade is the ethanol program. The success or failure of this plan is dependent largely on the support of this present government.* Aside from what was mentioned by kusinero, there is an existing lobby from two powerful groups(as far as I know) to either stop and/or defang** or control it.  I was told that those who want to control it are not even into farming but have already been investing in our sugar centrals.

    While these are all going on, the lobby for CARP to complete its mission is still very strong. If they only realize that it is no longer an all-Filipino fight but a “Philippines vs the World event”, maybe they may change their minds.

    Please take note that our sugar industry is just ONE industry under Philippine Agriculture.  What about the others?

    As to the real threat of Free Trade, let me pull out a few paragraphs from Harvesting Poverty; The Rigged Trade Game***

    “By rigging the global trade game against farmers in developing nations, Europe, the United States and Japan are essentially kicking aside the development ladder for some of the world’s most desperate people. This is morally depraved. By our actions, we are harvesting poverty around the world. 

    Hypocrisy compounds the outrage. The United States and Europe have mastered the art of forcing open poor nations’ economies to imported industrial goods and services. But they are slow to reciprocate when it comes to farming, where poorer nations can often manage, in a fair game, to compete. Globalization, it turns out, can be a one-way street. 

    The glaring credibility gap dividing the developed world’s free-trade talk from its market-distorting actions on agriculture cannot be allowed to continue. While nearly one billion people struggle to live on $1 a day, European Union cows net an average of $2 apiece in government subsidies. Japan, a country that prospered like no other by virtue of its ability to gain access to foreign markets for its televisions and cars, retains astronomical rice tariffs. The developed world’s $320 billion in farm subsidies last year dwarfed its $50 billion in development assistance. President Bush’s pledge to increase foreign aid was followed by his signing of a farm bill providing $180 billion in support to American farmers over the next decade.” 

    *Says DOE committed to save RP ethanol (**Philippines fail to pass Biofuels Act- Caltex-Chevron Blamed (***

  32. Dave:

    Allow me to share the following videos on the topics you mentioned – and how our competitors in the global markets are faring – you will find out that they have the same concerns as Filipino farmers. You will also see how they are addressing the same concerns – for example – instead of competing globally and losing against Brazil’s corporate farms – Canadian farmers diversified into organic produce – and sold the produce locally thereby reducing the carbon footprint – and being in a market where the Brazilians can’t compete – without having to resort to government intervention.

    The question is what are our competitors doing – that we are not doing, which we actually have the capability to do so but we are not doing it. And why aren’t we doing it – as we identify each disparity – we craft a strategy to close the gap and gain parity in the market. Identify what they are doing, find out how we can do better, implement, and follow through.

    Our competitors also face the same concerns as we do – however their response is different from us. It might help to learn and know what other farmers are up to – study the succesful ones – we focus too much on what doesn’t work – and forget to pay attention to what works – given the realities of the global marketplace.

    As Sun Tzu once quipt – know thy enemy and know thyself – and thou shalt win a thousand battles.

    Factors in the Agriculture Supply Chain and Looking at Farm Business Models


    Farmers Share Their Insights into the Benefits of Learning Business Management


    Top Managers: Does Agriculture Need to Adopt a Business Management Model?


    Why Should a Farmer Be the Least Bit Interested with the Word “Local”?



    we only have twenty fours every day, how do you want to spend those hours – dwelling on what works – and generate revenue.. or dwell on what doesn’t work – and keep on losing revenue. the ball is in our court – the world has been playing the whole time – and all we have been doing is crying from the sidelines that the rules should be changed.

    the world isn’t going to wait for the Philippines.

    step up or die. for those who find their niches and segments and right-size their operation –

    as to the rigged rules argument – when i hear that, what i hear is a pinoy politician who never loses – he was cheated because the elections were rigged…

    Filipinos think the game is about cost – when the game being played from the competitor’s perspective is one of value. listen to how Japan accepted the fact that it cannot beat China, Brazil, Vietnam, Burma – on the basis of cost – it’s the same concern of the Filipino businesses.

    an alternative is to acquire the ability to compete on the basis of value – what value do Filipino businesses add to their product? – for example consider these advice from Kehnichi Ohmae on “talent and global prosperity”


  33. Thanks for sharing BongV. This is one good document that I could actually put to use.

  34. A horse whose ideas pretty much destroyed the US economy within the last couple years.

  35. Does this specific idea on subsidies – that exporting countries who subsidize their industries are doing overseas customers a favor due to lower prices for these consumers – the downside being the taxes of people their origin countries are raised to pay for the subsidy – incorrect?

  36. Dave Hojilla · ·

    Let me just post my original response related to your opening sentence for accuracy sake.

    Doomsday for Philippine agriculture is coming

    I am disturbed, that after distributing 4.119 million hectares* of agri land to farmer-beneficiaries nationwide, we lease close to 1.5 million hectares to foreign corporations for 25-50 years.** There is also the realization that we are ill-prepared for Free Trade. It will permanently disable our anemic and antiquated agricultural sector. It will finish what our agrarian reform programs started out to accomplish. Our small carabao plowed plots will be at the mercy of fully mechanized & fully subsidized plantations of competing countries.*** It would have been a different story if we had or could prepare properly, but its getting late, and the risks imposed by our government and our pro-agrarian reform advocates prevent Philippine agriculture from its only means of survival.____I’ll let the readers decipher what I really meant.

    I agree with most of the things you said that is why threads like these are important to encourage a constructive exchange of ideas. From these exchanges, we do wish that our concerns be heard and acted upon at a much more accelerated rate by the powers that be.  Whatever we do now to address Free Trade, better be smart and fast.  

    At this point in time, there is no question what our industries have to do. They know it. We just have to support them.  Aside from graft and corruption,  populist politics etc., part of the problem is us (government, non-experts and outsiders), telling them what to do when it should be the other way around.   Of course suggestions are always welcome but they are the experts so we should ask them to take the lead.   
    Your example of Canada and Brazil is what Free Trade is all about. Specialize(do it better and cheaper) or die. If we equate this to our rice industry, we better be three to four times more efficient than what we are today to have an edge over Vietnam and Thailand.  We spend double to triple times what consumers in those countries pay to buy and produce rice. In past years, we became the number one importer of Vietnam rice.

    ___All farmers around the world face the same concerns but the difference between first world and third farmers huge.  I said this before, our agri lands are carabao plowed plots and theirs are fully mechanized plantations. In terms of subsidy, I mentioned what “The Rigged Trade Game” article said, “The developed world’s $320 billion in farm subsidies last year dwarfed its $50 billion in development assistance. President Bush’s pledge to increase foreign aid was followed by his signing of a farm bill providing $180 billion in support to American farmers over the next decade.”

    “as to the rigged rules argument — when i hear that, what i hear is a pinoy politician who never loses — he was cheated because the elections were rigged…”

    I understand why some of us cannot appreciate what was written if he read something like this for the first time but this article isn’t the only article or the only one telling this horrific story.In a 2005 article, entitled,  “Exposed: EU, US paying $13 billion in illegal agricultural subsidies“, some of  it reads,  The European Union and the United States are illegally subsidizing their production of corn, rice, sorghum, fruit juice, canned fruit, tomatoes, dairy products, tobacco and wine, according to new research published today by international agency Oxfam… 

    …Of the 11 commodities studied, the US and the EU pay out total annual farm subsidies worth $9.3 billion and $4.2 billion respectively which help to distort world trade. Oxfam found that 38 developing countries are suffering from unfair competition as a result, including larger countries such as Mexico and Brazil as well as poor countries like Malawi and Mozambique. Oxfam consulted legal experts who concluded that the affected countries could bring multiple cases against the EU and the US and win.

    “The WTO cases that the EU lost on sugar subsidies and the US lost on cotton subsidies are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Phil Bloomer, head of Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign. “Oxfam is not against all subsidies but we’ve always said that the worst of them lead to dumping. We now know that many of these harmful subsidies are not only unfair but also illegal under WTO rules.”

    “Unless the EU and the US live up to their promises at the WTO they will leave developing countries no option but the dock,” Bloomer said. “Poor countries shouldn’t be forced to seek development through the courts.”

    Besides, I specifically chose this New York Times article “Harvesting Poverty; The Rigged Trade Game” because this was highlighted by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council(PARC) themselves. So I think there is a bit of truth to what they are saying.___
    Free is not bad as long as we are prepared for it and as long as other countries compete fairly. Are we prepared for Free Trade today? Not by a long shot. Do we have a chance? Depends on what industry we are talking about and what we do now. Time will tell.
    Anyway, its been a long thread, I think I should stop here. Thank you BongV for the educational field trip and the latest videos. I think Ill visit our first thread for one last time and call it a day.

    More success to!


  37. Dave, thanks for the productive exchange of ideas.

    To re-iterate my position on subsidies – it may appear that the agri industries of the West are benefitting from subsidies – BUT, at great expense to their other industries.

    In using subsidies:

    * the US and the Western economies have become brittle – less agile and less resilient.
    * the tax structure is  skewed and becomes a disincentive for greater investment activity – making  US lose its edge in the number of start ups – and attractiveness to investments in emerging industries.

    Case in point – Renewable energy. There’s only enough money to go around – so while the US subsidizes agriculture – it is hard pressed in the renewables industry – and cannot afford any more subsidies without increasing the deficit – sooner or later something’s gotta give. After all those subsidies – is the the US economy really any stronger? Or has it created more problems for the US than it actually solves.

    Subisidies raise taxes which in turn leave  US citizens with less money which can be used to invest in new ventures.

  38. The funny bit is, Filipino gangs in places like LA are called “Bahala Na.”

    Shit, they can’t even come up with an intimidating name like MS-13 or Crips/Bloods.

  39. Not even Askals? 😛 

    Appropriate name though for a gang, considering how they leave their own lives to the dogs just by joining the gang. 

  40. Aha! Now there’s one explanation for why so many squatters come to Manila. And that’s even humane pa daw ha. 

  41. Miriam Quiamco · ·

    tried posting a comment, but couldn’t.

  42. Miriam Quiamco · ·

    BongV:  I agree with the ideas contained in articles quoted by Dave above.  It is not true that agricultural subsidies in the industrialized countries are compromising other industries that need government support like the green technology sector.  In Japan, the government has been subsidizing their rice farmers for decades and yet their green technology advances are equal to what Germany has achieved, apparently, quite on top of the heap.  The U.S. has a lot of other sources of funds to be tapped for ideas that have promise of profitability.  When the U.S. government does not offer enough funding for a certain sector in the economy, the private sector usually comes in to fill the gaps.  In the developed world, there are lots of sources of capital, which is not the case in poor countries.  Despite the U.S.’s pretensions of being a free-market economy, you can see a lot of examples of symbiosis between government and business sectors.  Unspeakable amount of taxpayers’ money is spent bailing out failing businesses, such as banks, investment houses and even an automobile manufacturer.  The so-called third world shouldn’t suck up all that free-market babble uncritically, or the subsidized produce coming from already wealthy nations could do more harm than good in our agriculture.

    There is a documentary that best illustrates this:  “Debt in Life”, it tells the story of how free trade policies of the World Bank and IMF have ravaged Jamaican economy, particularly its agricultural sector.  In the world we live in, we need pragmatic solutions to our problems not imprisoned by any  particular socio-economic model.  That’s why we need competent politicians who are willing to spend time thinking and discussing real solutions to our problems, not just posturing and grandstanding in chambers of our legislature.  Enough of showbiz politics.

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