The Philippine government will focus on five key areas as part of efforts to overcome the challenges to food security in the country as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic––five priorities to rebuild confidence and help the Philippines adjust to the “new normal.”

These were enumerated on Thursday by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who in a webinar organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines identified the strategies the government will adopt to boost agriculture and food production.

“The information contained in the Scan Dashboard will be vital to the government and the private sector.”

According to Nograles, chair of the government’s Task Force on Zero Hunger, among the priorities under the Agriculture and Fisheries Sector in the We Recover as One report of the IATF Technical Working Group for Anticipatory and Forward Planning are: (1) ensure unhampered movement of agriculture and food goods and services through efficient transport and logistics systems; (2) intensify provision of support services and farm machineries and equipment; (3) strengthen online marketing of agricultural produce; (4) ensure safety of food and agricultural products supplied in the market; and (5) intensify research and development for agriculture.

One such example of the measures under these five key areas is the launching of the Supply Chain Analytics (Scan) IATF Reporter Mobile App, which will provide mechanisms to troubleshoot problems in the supply chain for goods and inputs to production, as well as in planning supply-chain related interventions.

“The information contained in the Scan Dashboard will be vital to the government and the private sector in addressing the issues that hamper the flow of goods and inputs for production,” said Nograles.

Nograles explained that before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the country had made progress in reducing food insecurity, as the data showed “a decline in Filipino households who are food insecure at a rate of 53.9%, compared to the 2015 rate of 66.1%.”

The former legislator noted, however, that in a survey conducted during the COVID-19 outbreak, 16.7% or an estimated 4.2 million Filipino families experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months, almost double compared to the survey results in December 2019.

“Let us do our part to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition.”

“The Philippines has been improving its scores on hunger but due to this global pandemic, similar to other countries, our status worsened,” lamented Nograles.

Nograles pointed out that to achieve zero hunger, the Task Force on Zero Hunger and its partner agencies “have a lot of work to do and we have a lot of activities lined up moving towards ensuring food accessibility, nutrition adequacy, and food security at all times.”

“We have a great challenge ahead of us but with the help of our coworkers in government as well as our partners in the private sector, we will be able to accomplish these goals; together, let us do our part to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture in the Philippines.”

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