The Department of Agriculture (DA) convened the 2021 National Food Security Summit (NFFS) to address major challenges and enhance physical and economic access of every Filipino to sufficient, safe, nutritious, and affordable food.
“We need to sustain and strengthen our food production, distribution and logistics systems as Philippine agriculture faces incredibly challenging tasks in this time of global pandemic, and natural and man-made disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar, as he led the two-day consultative process that serves as culmination of regional food summits held in April and early May.
Summit participants recommended needed strategies and policies to resolve major issues confronting the farming and fishing sectors, and provided inputs to update commodity and industry roadmaps under the new normal.
President Rodrigo Duterte virtually keynoted the summit’s plenary session along with Senators Cynthia Villar and Kiko Pangilinan.
With the theme “Food for Today and Beyond: Transforming Philippine Agriculture” — the 2021 NFSS also featured several top national and local government chief executives, including UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director General Qu Dongyu, who shared their respective thoughts on attaining food security.
Breakout workshops, combining physical and virtual attendance, across major agriculture and fishery industry clusters were conducted during the two-day event, which was the second edition under the Duterte administration. The first was held on October 29-30, 2019, barely three months after Dar assumed office.
“The global pandemic and the resulting economic crisis continue to add to the growing threats to national food security.”
“The global pandemic and the resulting economic crisis continue to add to the growing threats to national food security that is already challenged by various factors such as climate change, increasing population, rising food prices, and the African Swine Fever (ASF) that ravaged the local hog industry,” the agriculture chief said.
The agriculture head also emphasized the need to develop regional and provincial strategies that will form part of the national food security blueprint.
“We must always be reminded of our renewed vision and mission.”
“We must always be reminded of our renewed vision and mission: A food-secure and resilient Philippines with prosperous and empowered farmers and fishers; and make farming and fishing more profitable, productive, sustainable, and globally competitive so that future shocks such as this pandemic do not threaten food and nutrition security of Filipinos,” he added.
“We will complement the resulting national food security plan with our ‘OneDA reform agenda,’ anchored on four major pillars, namely consolidation, modernization, industrialization and professionalization. Likewise, we will continue to implement the Duterte administration’s ‘Plant, Plant, Plant program’ to sustainably increase the production of our basic food commodities like, rice, corn, vegetables, fruits, livestock, poultry, and fisheries,” he stressed.
Dar is confident that the 1.23-percent (%) quarter-to-quarter growth rate recorded by the agriculture, fisheries, and forestry sub-sector in the first three months of the year, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), will serve as a catalyst to further improve the performance of the Philippine economy for the rest of 2021.
The DA aims to attain a 2.5% growth of the agriculture sector this year.
Close to 1,000 representatives from national and local government agencies, the private sector, farmers’ and fisherfolk’s groups, international organizations, academe, youth leaders, non-governmental and civil society organizations, and media partners attended the event virtually.
The food summit was part of the annual celebration of “Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s Month.”
The opening and closing ceremonies were held at the DA’s Bureau of Soils and Water Management Convention Hall, in Diliman, Quezon City and were livestreamed via the DA’s official Facebook page.
For more details, kindly visit the National Food Security Summit website through this link: https://bit.ly/DAFoodSummit2021.