PHL seeks UN help to boost food production

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said the Philippines will seek the assistance of the United Nations to modernize its food production.

In his speech before the 77th Session of the United Nations last Tuesday (New York time), Marcos said he hopes the UN will be able to help in increasing the productivity of Filipino farmers and fishermen.

“We look forward to forging cooperation with the UN and our partners to boost agricultural productivity and food security,” Marcos Jr. said.

He said his administration decided to prioritize local food supply after the pandemic and conflict in Ukraine disrupted the international supply chain, which led to spikes in the prices of some imported food items.

“To attain food self-sufficiency and security, we are providing innovative solutions and financial support to farmers and fisherfolk to adapt new technologies and connect to national and global value supply chains.”

He said these solutions also are also aimed at enabling the Philippines to meet the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which include ending hunger and achieving food security.

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

“Food is not just a trade commodity nor is it just a livelihood. It is an existential imperative, and a moral one. It is the very basis of human security.”

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

The concurrent Agriculture secretary said he wants to boost the production of agricultural products by providing farmers access to financing, cheap fertilizer, pesticide, seeds, feeds, and fuel.

He also wants to improve the distribution of agriculture products through the construction of a national network of farm-to-market roads, and expansion of the Kadiwa Centers of the Department of Agriculture.

Marcos said the measures will be contained in a comprehensive plan of the DA, which is expected to be finalized in the next planting season.

The government has allocated P12 billion to extend the country’s rice buffer stock capacity next year from 9 days to 15 days to boost the country’s resilience amid the looming “global food crisis.”

In his message for the 2023 National Expenditure Program, the president said the fund will be used by the National Food Authority (NFA) for the procurement of unmilled rice from local farmers.

He said the P670 million will be allocated to establish a rice and corn seed buffer stock under the Department of Agriculture.

“This is to ensure…enough supplies of these seeds to be used during calamities and emergencies affecting rice and corn productions.”