Legarda: Support agriculture, promote urban farming to alleviate malnutrition, improve food security

February 24, 2021

Three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker, Loren Legarda stressed the importance of providing necessary support for agriculture and promoting urban gardening around the country to address hunger and malnutrition and achieve food security.

“In the 2020 fourth quarter survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in November, an estimated 4 million families experienced involuntary hunger or hunger due to lack of food to eat. This record gave us some relief because the previous survey results in September 2020 indicated 7.6 million affected families. However, the statistics is still alarming knowing that there are still 4 million families out there who do not have adequate food on their table,” Legarda said.

“Our country is abundant with natural resources if only we know how to source and utilize these properly. We have to provide our people with the kind of support that will have long-term effects to effectively reduce, if not eliminate, hunger and malnutrition in the country. Let us achieve food security through stronger support for agriculture and the promotion of urban farming,” Legarda said.

Legarda said that if the government provides adequate support and intervention to agriculture, especially small farmers, “we are not only providing income and livelihood but the support they receive will equate to a more bountiful harvest and lower production costs. Whereas, urban farming promotes self-sufficiency by teaching the public to produce their own food at the comfort of their homes or their respective communities.”

Early this month, House Bill 8385 or the Integrated Urban Agriculture Act of 2020, which was co-authored by Legarda, was passed on third reading by the House of Representatives. The proposed measure seeks to promote and institutionalize urban agriculture as a sustainable land use system to address hunger incidence in the country by utilizing idle lands and small spaces to plant and produce food in the community.

“As an urban gardener myself, and running a small farm, I am hoping that the passage of this proposed measure will be given equal priority because it will address major problems in the society – hunger, poverty, and food security. Although we already have current programs that promote urban agriculture, such as the DepEd’s Gulayan sa Paaralan program and the organic backyard and communal farming of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries, having all Filipinos involved would yield greater improvement in the country’s food security, while at the same time we also promote public awareness on ecological and sustainable use of land resources for food production,” she concluded.***