This policy monograph expounds on why the Philippines is better off with free trade agreements rather than without. It points out, however, that Philippine agriculture, and the country’s economy as a whole, would not gain immediate benefit either from AFTA or the World Trade Organization (WTO); instead, the Philippines has become a net importer of agri-products.
The Philippines, therefore, has to double its efforts to modernize Philippines agriculture, matching with hard cash the legislations that aim to bring prosperity and progress in the countryside. Philippine agriculture will have to undergo structural changes, painful as they are, in order to reap the rewards of an expanding market, increasing investments and dollar earnings through exports. Filipino farmers will have to be competitive to become AFTA winners in the end. It is the only way to meet the AFTA challenge.
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