• By The Financial District


The Department of Agriculture (DA) convenes the 2021 National Food Security Summit (NFFS) on May 18-19, 2021 to address major challenges and enhance physical and economic access of every Filipino to sufficient, safe, nutritious, and affordable food.

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“We need to sustain and strengthen our food production, distribution and logistics systems as Philippine agriculture faces incredibly challenging tasks in this time of global pandemic, and natural and man-made disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar, as he leads the two-day consultative process that serves as culmination of regional food summits held in April and early May.

Summit participants are expected to recommend needed strategies and policies to resolve major issues confronting the farming and fishing sectors, and provide inputs to update commodity and industry roadmaps under the new normal.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will virtually keynote the summit’s plenary session on May 19, along with Senators Cynthia Villar and Francis Pangilinan. With the theme “Food for Today and Beyond: Transforming Philippine Agriculture” — the 2021 NFSS also features several top national and local government chief executives, including UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Qu Dongyu, who will share their respective thoughts on attaining food security.

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Breakout workshops, combining physical and virtual attendance, across major agriculture and fishery industry clusters will be conducted during two-day event, which is the second edition under the Duterte administration. The first was held on October 29-30, 2019, barely three months after Secretary Dar assumed office.

“The global pandemic and the resulting economic crisis continue to add to the growing threats to national food security that is already challenged by various factors such as climate change, increasing population, rising food prices, and the African Swine Fever (ASF) that ravaged the local hog industry,” Secretary Dar said.

He also emphasized the need to develop regional and provincial strategies that will form part of the national food security blueprint.

“We must always be reminded of our renewed vision and mission: A food-secure and resilient Philippines with prosperous and empowered farmers and fishers; and make farming and fishing more profitable, productive, sustainable, and globally competitive so that future shocks such as this pandemic do not threaten food and nutrition security of Filipinos,” he added.

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“We will complement the resulting national food security plan with our ‘OneDA reform agenda,’ anchored on four major pillars, namely consolidation, modernization, industrialization, and professionalization. Likewise, we will continue to implement the Duterte administration’s ‘Plant, Plant, Plant program’ to sustainably increase the production of our basic food commodities like rice, corn, vegetables, fruits, livestock, poultry, and fisheries,” the Agri chief said.

He is confident that the 1.23-percent (%) quarter-to-quarter growth rate recorded by the agriculture, fisheries, and forestry sub-sector in the first three months of the year, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), will serve as a catalyst to further improve the performance of the Philippine economy for the rest of 2021.

The DA aims to attain a 2.5% growth of the agriculture sector this year. To date, close to 1,000 representatives from national and local government agencies, the private sector, farmers’ and fisherfolk’s groups, international organizations, academe, youth leaders, non-governmental and civil society organizations, and media partners are expected to attend virtually.


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