The story is told about a country leader who divorced his wife because she could not bear him his child. Medical investigation later revealed that the fault did not lie with the wife but with the leader who was sterile. This story, whether true or not, is a good analogy on who Filipinos should blame for the mass poverty in agriculture, a phenomenon that accounts for 70 percent of the total poor and the basis of the statement that poverty in the Philippines is agriculture-driven.
Many of the country’s economic leaders blame farmers for their impoverished state. They say that farmers are lazy, lacking in education and capital, stubborn, and resist the adoption of modern farming technology.
In the course of writing the book “Eradicating Mass Poverty in Agriculture” the author’s investigation revealed that the fault for the massive poverty in agriculture does not lie with the farmers, but with the economic leaders who adopted the free-market policy for agriculture. This policy place many farmers under a harsh competitive environment called near perfect market competition that subject them to a perpetual cost-price squeeze phenomenon, wherein prices received by farmers are persistently equal to or sometimes even below production cost. As a consequence, farmers who rely mainly on agriculture for their livelihood generally earn low income, with many of them earning below the poverty threshold.