Inderscience Publishers

Linking the trends in material flows with poverty in The Philippines

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This paper attempts to link information from national material flow accounts, which have been established for the Philippines only recently, and standard measures of poverty. Since the Philippines economy during the last two decades has undergone significant ups and downs, poverty of parts of the Philippines population is an eminent problem. At the same time, the Philippines is still to a great extent an agricultural economy where both growth in household income and availability of food are related to the efficiency of the agricultural activities. In order to arrive at an analysis of the potential for alleviating poverty, trends in material flows are considered as background information for economic arguments. This is assumed possible for two reasons: first of all, material flows establish a biophysical background for all economic activities and create direct links to other environmental resources such as land. Secondly, material flows are rather stable and slow to change. The finding of the paper, that growth impulse (e.g. rising labour productivity) mainly comes from agriculture does not support an optimistic view for future reduction of poverty since population growth in the Philippines currently overtakes domestic food production and the crops contributing to growth are limited by the availability of land of good quality.

Keywords: poverty measures, material flow accounting, food security, Philippines, household income, labour productivity, agriculture, MFA, land availability, food production, poverty alleviation, environmental resources

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