Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

FAO gives full support to “OneDA Reform Agenda”

Author: DA Press Office | 10 March 2022

Dhaka, Bangladesh — Agriculture Secretary William Dar and Director General (DG) Qu Dongyu of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN-FAO) on March 9 discussed relevant agriculture policies and collaborative FAO-Phl partnership to level up and promote more productive food systems, at the sidelines of the 36th FAO Asia-Pacific Regional Conference (APRC).

During their one-on-one informal meeting, Secretary Dar underscored that the Philippines has achieved record production of rice and corn, propping up the positive performance of the agri-fishery sector amid global challenges and the protracted Covid-19 pandemic.

“Palay (paddy rice) and corn production hit record levels at 19.96 million metric tons (MMT) and 8.3 MMT, respectively in 2021,” said the DA chief, adding that “these accomplishments were the outcomes of our ‘OneDA Reform Agenda’ that we have pursued since we assumed office in August 2019.”

He shared with DG Qu that the “OneDA Reform Agenda” focuses on four major pillars of farm consolidation, modernization, industrialization, and professionalization, and to which the latter has expressed his personal and FAO’s full support, offering continued strong partnership.

Secretary Dar also told DG Qu that Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during last week’s “Talk to the People” television program aired nationwide has approved a 14-point action plan to mitigate the impacts of the Ukraine crisis, as recommended by the Cabinet’s Economic Development Cluster (EDC), led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.

Majority of the recommendations pertains to ensuring food security that includes further boosting domestic food production through the Plant, Plant, Plant Program Part 2, with a proposed budget of P24 billion (B). The bulk of P20B will be allotted for fertilizer subsidy, as prices have trebled due to tight global supply.

The remaining amount of P4 B will bankroll four components, at P1 B each, namely: 1)  enhance and expand the implementation of the urban and peri-urban agriculture; 2) produce animal feeds using local materials; 3) increase aquaculture production and marine catch; and 4) expand food mobilization and through the DA-Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita marketing program.

For his part, FAO DG Qu committed to extend needed technical assistance to help the Philippines attain its food security goals under the “OneDA Reform Agenda.”

Before assuming the FAO post in August 2019, Dr. Qu — a plant breeder, geneticist, and environmental scientist — served as China’s Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Vice Governor of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, and helped design flagship South-South Cooperation projects with FAO and the World Bank. He and Secretary Dar share the same passion, thus they remain professional friends through more than three decades and counting.

The four-day event is attended by agriculture secretaries or ministers, and senior officials of 46 FAO member-countries in Asia and the Pacific. It is hosted by the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and its Ministry of Agriculture. It is conducted in a hybrid, physical-virtual format.

The conference serves as an avenue for discussion on initiatives related to the state of food and agriculture in the Asia Pacific region in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, concerted actions to promote inclusive and climate-resilient agri-food systems, and digitalization of agriculture and food value chains, among other mutual regional concerns. ### (Noel O. Reyes and Adora Rodriguez)


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