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Food Stamp Program aims to change eating habits of food-poor households

Filipino eating habits

The Marcos administration’s Food Stamp Program, which will be implemented through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), aims to change the eating habits of food-poor households by empowering them to choose the types of food they want from the available food basket.

DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian said the food stamp program will require its food-poor beneficiaries to attend nutrition classes in order for them to develop healthy eating habits.

“They’ll also be made to attend nutrition classes. Kasi ang plano natin sa programa ay mapalitan natin yung eating habits sa loob ng tahanan,” the DSWD secretary told a media forum last Wednesday (June 7).

The DSWD chief cited the Food and Nutrition Research Institute’s (FNRI) data that many Filipinos tend to purchase junk food while buying their food items in groceries and supermarkets.

“May pinakita sa amin yung Food and Nutrition Research Institute na buying habits ng mga Pilipino, mahilig pa rin tayo sa mga chichirya, matatamis,” Secretary Gatchalian pointed out.

Secretary Gatchalian said the FNRI and other non-government organizations involved in nutrition have come out with cookbooks that poor households can use to plan their daily meals that are cheap, nutritious and easy to cook.

“Mura, masarap at masustansiyang pagkain ang gusto nating ilagay sa mesa ng mga food-poor families,” the DSWD chief said.

A total of 3,000 families from geographically isolated regions or provinces, and calamity-stricken areas will participate in the pilot run from July to December.

Under the food stamp program, each family will be given tap cards containing ₱3,000 worth of food credits per month.

Secretary Gatchalian pointed out that the program was initially designed to prioritize ‘farmers-driven stores’ such as those operated by the Kadiwa ng Pangulo and Agri-Coop, as outlets where beneficiaries can buy goods and products.

“We have to be able to link the farmers, ‘yong mga produkto nila, sa lamesa ng mga mahihirap na Pilipino. Hindi na lang farm-to-market tayo. farm-to-table na rin. (We need to establish a connection between the farmers and the tables of poor Filipinos, ensuring that their products reach those in need),” the DSWD Secretary pointed out.

With the ‘farm-to-table concept, Secretary Gatchalian hopes to help local farmers and fisherfolks to have a platform to sell their agricultural products, while also addressing the hunger problem in the country.

Having farmers as partners of the FSP will address the oversupply of agricultural products that often result to wastage due to lack of market, according to the DSWD secretary.

“Alam natin na maraming magsasaka na palagi na lang napapaulat minsan excess iyong tomato, walang bumibili. Noong isang araw squash, walang bumibili. That’s why in this program mahuhubog natin din, na makakatulong tayo na iyong wastage from our farmlands, hindi itatapon lang (We are aware of the reports that farmers often have oversupply in tomatoes or squash without buyers. That’s why in this program, we aim to shape a solution where we can also help. We will lessen the wastage from our farmlands),” Secretary Gatchalian said.

Aside from nutrition classes, the DSWD will also require beneficiaries to enroll in job-generating programs of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

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