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GOV’T TO COMMUNITIES: GROW OWN FOOD, END HUNGER

Ramping up food production, encouraging communities to grow their own produce, and  safely increasing economic activity are some of the keys to reduce hunger in the provinces.

This was bared by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who at the government’s pre-SONA (State of the Nation Address) forum addressed concerns that a recent Social Weather Stations survey showed that involuntary hunger had increased in areas outside Metro Manila.

Nograles said that the government was working to bring hunger down to pre-pandemic levels as he pointed out that the percentage of families that experienced hunger in the country had steadily decreased during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Kailangan po talaga natin na, to really pour more economic activities in this affected regions, kaya napakalaki po nung magiging factor ng Plant, Plant, Plant pati yung Build, Build, Build,” stressed Nograles, head of the government’s Zero Hunger Task Force.

“So the more that we can push Plant, Plant, Plant, of course the more food production will happen and create more jobs also, especially sa rural areas at sa countryside.”

This, said Nograles, would complement the government’s Build, Build, Build program, which is also expected to generate even more jobs––jobs needed to provide families with income to buy food.

The latest SWS hunger survey revealed that the total percentage of families that experienced hunger in NCR dropped from 23.3% in November 2020 to 14.7% in May 2021. However, it also found that 20.7% of families in Mindanao experienced hunger in May 2021, up from 16% in November 2020. Total hunger also rose in Luzon, from 14.4% in November 2020 to 15.7% in May 2021, as well as the Visayas, where total hunger rose from 14.3% in November 2020 to 16.3% in May 2021.

Nograles explained that the multifaceted battle against hunger had various components, and required different government agencies to work together to improve the accessibility and affordability of food.

“So sa food production kailangan po yung talagang, isulong talaga ng mas mabilis yung Plant, Plant, Plant program ng Department of Agriculture at iba pang mga kagawaran at ahensiya tungkol sa agriculture.”

The Palace official explained that “lahat ng mga nandito na Cabinet Secretaries, ah sa Human Development Poverty Reduction Cluster, tinututukan natin ang lahat ng mga aspeto ng kagutuman.

“So sa food production kailangan po yung talagang, isulong talaga ng mas mabilis yung Plant, Plant, Plant program ng Department of Agriculture at iba pang mga kagawaran at ahensiya tungkol sa agriculture,” said the former legislator from Mindanao.

“Pagdating sa food production din, ang 4Ps natin, we’re also pushing our 4Ps beneficiaries to plant and grow their own food. Binubuhay natin yung “Gulayan sa Paaralan” with the Department of Education, “Gulayan sa Barangay,” so that people can grow their own food para maging mas accessible ang masustansiyang pagkain down to the community level.”

Nograles said that the government was working to bring hunger down to pre-pandemic levels as he pointed out that the percentage of families that experienced hunger in the country had steadily decreased during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

According to data from the SWS, 13.3% of families in the country experienced hunger in 2016, a figure that went down to 12.3% in 2017, dropped to 10.8% in 2018, and 9.3% in 2019, the lowest since 2003.

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