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Dar cites need to open up economy

THERE is a need to open up the economy to create more income opportunities for the benefit of poorer sectors of the country.

This was stressed by Agriculture Secretary William Dar saying that on top of increasing the country’s food sufficiency level to address hunger, it is also very important to open up the economy to manage hunger problem.

There are many strategies that we need to pursue. These include opening up of the economy, creating more jobs, and implementing livelihood and income-generating opportunities to lift our poor countrymen from poverty and hunger,” said Dar, during the recent virtual observance of the first anniversary of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Zero Hunger.

To address these problems, Dar, who serves as vice-chair of IATF on Zero Hunger, said that the DA aims at doubling the income of farmers and fishers, who are the foundation of the country’s food systems to stimulate them to continue efforts in feeding our ever-growing population.

We at the DA, in particular, embrace a ‘new thinking’ and a food security development framework for the agriculture sector to adequately serve the needs of Filipinos,” Dar stressed.

He added that the DA will continue to focus on lowering costs of production and ensuring ready markets for farm and fishery products to balance affordable food for consumers and provide decent profit for farmers and fishers.

During the virtual celebration, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles reported the accomplishments, plans, and ongoing projects of the task force, which he chairs.

Created last year through Executive Order (EO) No. 101, the task force is tasked to coordinate, rationalize, monitor, and assess the efforts of concerned government agencies and instrumentalities to ensure a whole-of-government approach to eradicating hunger and achieving food security.

EO 101 also created the National Food Policy (NFP) that was launched during the observance of World Food Day on October 16, 2020.

The NFP features six key result areas (KRAs), namely: 1) review and rationalize existing policies, rules, and regulations related to zero hunger; 2) ensure available and affordable food; 3) secure nutrition adequacy; 4) secure food accessibility and safety; 5) ensure sustainable food systems, food resiliency, and stability; and 6) ensure information, education, awareness, and people participation.

The DA leads the technical working group (TWG) on KRA 2 — ensure available and affordable food — and co-chairs or serves as a member of the other five KRAs.

Today, as we mark our first year anniversary, we are proud of our initial accomplishments, and at the same time, cognizant of the great challenge ahead of us towards the attainment of our goal of making food available and accessible at sufficient quantities of appropriate quality ensures price stability,” Secretary Dar said.

He added that the Covid-19 crisis and other emerging obstacles emphasize the urgency of the tasks of the IATF on Zero Hunger.