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Incentives for climate- smart agri initiatives urged

April 18, 2023 Cory Martinez 174 views

INCENTIVES must be given to the private sector, which will invest in climate-smart agriculture and renewable energy.

This was the recommendation of the World Bank (WB) officials in a forum of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), where it presented the “Country Climate and Development Report” (CCDR).

The WB officials led by its project leader and economist, Souleymane Coulibaly, World Bank project stressed that the government must raise the access of climate financing to the private sector and tap Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) bonds to finance climate actions countering disasters.

ESG bonds are generally part of sustainability financing supported by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Eligible green expenditures are clean transportation, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction projects, sustainable agriculture, and renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydropower).

“Public and private investments are needed to finance adaptation through climate-resilient infrastructure. Financing mitigation measures from the private sector should be incentivized by new regulatory technology-push and demand-pull policies,” said Coulibaly.

“On the private side, issuing ESG bonds under the recently introduced Sustainability Financing Framework could leverage private financing for climate actions,” Coulibaly added.

Dr. Stefano Pagiola, World Bank senior environmental economist, on the other hand, said that the “attractiveness” to farmers of climate-smart agriculture practices should be improved as these have “triple wins.” These are higher productivity, higher resilience, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Pagiola also stressed that some policies must be avoided. One of these policies is when farmers who do not pay for water do not give farmers incentives to use water efficiently.

He also disclosed that in Luzon and Cordillera, a technology that may have higher financial returns for farmers is the use of blight-resistant white potatoes in crop rotation with green cabbage and rainwater harvesting. The financial return is estimated at more than P500,000 per hectare.

Meanwhile, in Visayas and Cordillera, another technology with a good financial return is rice-onion crop rotation with the use of early maturing rice.