THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

World Food Day 2020 kicks off

Author: DA Communications Group | 13 October 2020

Underscoring the importance of growing, sustaining, and nourishing together, Agriculture Secretary William Dar took note that the poor are the most vulnerable sector towards hunger and malnutrition, during the World Food Day (WFD) kick-off on October 12, 2020.

“Even if food is available, but the resources to buy basic essentials are limited, it will be a problem,” he explained.

Dar announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force has already approved a new program that will address the hunger and malnutrition problem in the country.

“The hunger rate is at 30 percent and we hope that in the coming months, we will able to manage properly challenges on hunger and malnutrition,” he said.

Dar mentioned that he has already instructed the re-alignment of programs under the National Rice Program and the Philippine Rice Research Center to address the emerging rice requirement of the people, not just on high yield variety but also quality aromatic variety.

Di na lang basta kung ano ang itatanim. Dapat masarap ding kainin at may kita ang mga magsasaka. Nourishment is something we need to have a good handle,” he stressed.

In his message, the Secretary reiterated the full support of the Department of Agriculture to local rice farmers, and emphasized that importation will be a last resort to support the department’s goal of achieving food sufficiency level for all commodities.

He also thanked the farmers and fishers for sustaining Philippine agriculture and making food supply adequate amid the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary for Operation and WFD National Steering Chairman Ariel Cayanan called for unity and encouraged everyone to take part in government initiatives to build back a resilient food system that can withstand unforeseen events, deliver affordable and sustainable healthy diets for all, and provide decent livelihoods for food workers.

“We are encouraging everyone to be our ally. Di po ito iyong panahon para magpunahan tayo at magsisihan. Ito ang panahon para magsama-sama tayo. Even with our stakeholders, we plead to them to join together after all, we only have one goal: Kailangan walang magutom,” Cayanan said.

Speaking for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), FAO Representative Tamara Palis-Duran reminded that the WFD celebration is a call for immediate action from the agriculture and development workers to ensure adequate, nutritious, and affordable food continuous to be available and accessible to Filipinos.

“These uncertain times, let us rekindle our appreciation of our basic needs that many took us for granted but none of us can’t live without. Food is the essence of life. The base where our needs are founded on,” Duran said.

Food Security Ambassadors James Reid and Cherrie Atilano also delivered inspirational messages during the event and committed to use their voices to influence the young Filipinos to take part in sustainable food production. ### (Kristel Merle, DA-AFID)

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