Picture of Rommel Hallares
DA chief warns of looming global food crisis
by Rommel Hallares - Friday, 20 May 2022, 09:33 AM
 
Manila Bulletin: May 18, 2022, 3:09 PM

Department of Agriculture Sec. William Dar warned on Wednesday, May 18, of a looming global food crisis that will certainly hit the country hard if appropriate actions and proper planning are not done in the soonest possible time.

In an interview over the government’s Laging Handa briefing, Dar said they are looking at the second semester as the start of the food crisis, adding that big increase in the prices of farm inputs that are now being felt even in the country is one of the indications.

He said the looming food crisis is driven by the adverse economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the war between Russia and Ukraine and the continuous upsurge of oil prices.
“We are monitoring this because a lot of experts are already saying that is a looming food crisis. That is the reason why all Filipinos should be prepared,” said Dar.

“On our (Philippines) part, we are ready because we already have a directional plan to handle this being challenge,” he added.

Dar is referring to the National Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization and Industrialization Plan (NAFMIP) 2021–2030, which he said, shall serve as directional plan for the sector’s growth in the coming years.

With NAFMIP, he said the succeeding leadership in agriculture will not start from scratch as the plan can be further strengthened and translated into various programs, projects, and activities in the near-term, medium-term, and long-term.
While the country has enough supply so far of rice, vegetables and fish, he emphasized the need to sustain and even increase the food production in the country.

But Dar said this could only be achieved if the support system to the agriculture sector will be sustained.
For instance, the DA chief said the government should focus in allocating funds to assist farmers in increasing farm and aquaculture outputs, the support system is from seedlings and other forms of capitals to farmers and fishermen up to agriculture infrastructure.

“We are also beginning to feel the big increase in farm inputs, especially fertilizers. This is where we should invest so that these inputs would be locally made,” said Dar.

Locally-made farm inputs, according to Dar, would mean cheaper prices compared to the prevailing prices in the market.

On the part of the DA, Dar said they aggressively pushing for various programs that encourages more Filipinos to invest time, money and effort on agriculture as a way of increasing food production.

He said they are also coordinating with the Local Government Units (LGUs) for this goal, especially in ensuring the success of NAFMIP.
“NAFMIP is an important plan because it is not just about production, but it considers the entire value chain system and even beyond food systems to ensure food security, improve nutrition, raise incomes, and achieve resiliency and sustainability,” said Dar.
He said the project can also guide the agricultural development programs and investments of partners from other national government agencies, local government units, and various stakeholders in the private sector as the plan promotes synergy.

“It is a strategic plan that defines the directions, strategies, and priorities in developing and growing Philippine agriculture with the objective that we are able to transform and unlock the potential of Philippine agriculture,” said Dar.


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