THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

DA chief calls for further opening up of economy to address hunger

Author: DA Communications Group | 13 January 2021

On top of increasing the country’s food sufficiency level to address hunger, Agriculture Secretary William Dar underscores the importance of opening up the economy to create more income opportunities for the benefit of poorer sectors of the country.

“A more focused approach is necessary to manage the country’s hunger problem,” the DA chief said, during the virtual observance of the first anniversary of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Zero Hunger on January 11, 2021.

“There are many strategies that we need to pursue. These include opening up of the economy, creating more jobs, and implementing livelihood and income-generating opportunities to lift our poor countrymen from poverty and hunger,” said Secretary Dar, who serves as vice-chair of IATF on Zero Hunger.

To address these problems, the Department of Agriculture (DA) aims at doubling the income of farmers and fishers, who are the foundation of the country’s food systems to stimulate them to continue efforts in feeding our ever-growing population.

“We at the DA, in particular, embrace a ‘new thinking’ and a food security development framework for the agriculture sector to adequately serve the needs of Filipinos,” the agri chief said.

He added that the DA will continue to focus on lowering costs of production and ensuring ready markets for farm and fishery products to balance affordable food for consumers and provide decent profit for farmers and fishers.

During the virtual celebration, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles reported the accomplishments, plans, and ongoing projects of the task force, which he chairs.

Created last year through Executive Order (EO) No. 101, the task force is tasked to coordinate, rationalize, monitor, and assess the efforts of concerned government agencies and instrumentalities to ensure a whole-of-government approach to eradicating hunger and achieving food security.

EO 101 also created the National Food Policy (NFP) that was launched during the observance of World Food Day on October 16, 2020.

The NFP features six key result areas (KRAs), namely: 1) review and rationalize existing policies, rules, and regulations related to zero hunger; 2) ensure available and affordable food; 3) secure nutrition adequacy; 4) secure food accessibility and safety; 5) ensure sustainable food systems, food resiliency, and stability; and 6) ensure information, education, awareness, and people participation.

The DA leads the technical working group (TWG) on KRA 2 — ensure available and affordable food — and co-chairs or serves as a member of the other five KRAs.

“Today, as we mark our first year anniversary, we are proud of our initial accomplishments, and at the same time, cognizant of the great challenge ahead of us towards the attainment of our goal of making food available and accessible at sufficient quantities of appropriate quality ensures price stability,” Secretary Dar said.

He added that the Covid-19 crisis and other emerging obstacles emphasize the urgency of the tasks of the IATF on Zero Hunger. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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