PHL seeks UN help to boost food production

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the Philippines would seek UN assistance to modernize its food production.

In his address to the 77th session of the United Nations last Tuesday (New York time), Marcos said he hopes the United Nations can help increase the productivity of Filipino farmers and fishermen.

“We look forward to establishing cooperation with the United Nations and our partners to enhance agricultural productivity and food security,” said Marcus Jr.

He said his administration decided to prioritize domestic food supplies after the pandemic and conflict in Ukraine disrupted the international supply chain, driving up prices for some imported food.

“To achieve self-sufficiency and food security, we provide innovative solutions and financial support to farmers and fishermen to adapt new technologies and connect to supply chains of national and global value.”

He said these solutions are also aimed at enabling the Philippines to achieve the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which include ending hunger and achieving food security.

“We need to take concrete steps towards modern, resilient agriculture,” he said.

“Food is not just a commercial commodity nor just a source of livelihood. It is an existential and moral duty. It is the basis of human security.”

In his State of the Nation address last July, the president identified agriculture as a priority sector he wants to promote during his term to stabilize food prices.

The concurrent agriculture minister said he wanted to boost agricultural production by providing farmers with access to finance, cheap fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, fodder and fuel.

He also wants to improve the distribution of agricultural products by establishing a national farm-to-market road network, and expanding the Ministry of Agriculture’s Kadiwa centers.

Marcus said the measures will be included in a comprehensive development agenda plan, which is expected to be completed in the next planting season.

The government has allocated 12 billion pesos to extend the country’s rice stockpile capacity next year from 9 to 15 days to boost the country’s resilience amid a looming “global food crisis”.

In his letter to the National Expenditure Program 2023, the president said the fund would be used by the National Food Authority (NFA) to purchase raw rice from local farmers.

He said that an amount of 670 million dollars will be allocated to create a reserve stock for rice and corn seeds under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture.

“This is to ensure … an adequate supply of these seeds for use during disasters and emergencies affecting rice and maize production.”

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