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Lack of support for agriculture cause of RP hunger – Legarda

January 21, 2010

IN LIGHT OF THE INCREASING HUNGER RATE IN THE COUNTRY, SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA EMPHASIZED THE NEED FOR STRONGER SUPPORT FOR OUR COUNTRY’S AGRICULTURE TO AVERT A POSSIBLE FOOD CRISIS AND COMBAT HUNGER IN THE PHILIPPINES.
“The Social Weather Stations showed that there is an increase of 24 percent of Filipinos who suffer from hunger. This means that 4.4 million households or approximately 20 million Filipinos did not have enough to eat in the past year. To me, this is both disheartening and unacceptable,” said Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food.
Legarda urged the government to hasten the development of agriculture in order to stop and reverse the spread of hunger among Filipinos.
“We may have increased our support for farmers and fisher folk judging from the budgets we have approved in support of the Department of Agriculture, particularly the GMA commodity programs. In the past few years that the budget for the DA has steadily been increasing, we have heard reports of increased productivity.
Yet, these statistics have not effectively reduced food insecurity,” said Legarda.
She added, “We are also informed that we have been increasing our rice imports by the NFA (National Food Authority) to ensure sufficient supply. Yet again, apparently, this is not a solution to hunger. After all, according to a World Bank report, most of the NFA rice is sold to the non-poor rather than to the poor.
Meanwhile, the lady Senator said that it is important for the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization (COCAFM) to establish an efficient and timely monitoring system.
Legarda said that the next administration should set a monitoring system that will be used by oversight agencies in both the executive and legislative branches of government in checking the performance of the DA and related agencies.
“I am instituting a monitoring system, with the help of my COCAFM team, to use in the evaluation of current and future agriculture and fisheries program implementation. Whoever becomes President in 2010 should make use of it to fulfill the goal of rationally allocating resources for this vital sector,” Legarda said.
Source: Manila Bulletin