A NATIONAL organization of local chief executives (LCEs) in the country is seeking a people’s food policy that will cater to sustainable, climate-resilient agriculture to produce safe and healthy food that is accessible to all.
Lanao del Norte Mayor Rommel Arnado, president of the League of Organic Agriculture Municipalities and Cities (LOAMC), said there is an urgent need to adopt a people’s food policy that seeks to address the disconnect in the country’s food, nutrition, agriculture and environment security.
Arnado noted that the country has consistently remained most vulnerable to natural disasters and extreme weather events.
He said these calamities have always resulted in low farm production, which has caused hunger and further pushed farmers into heavy debts.
“The situation is further aggravated by farmers’ dependency on external and inorganic fertilizers and inputs, adding burden to the already impoverished farming sector,” Arnado added.
He also noted that while small farmers are generally the ones feeding the population, “they are also the ones
who are suffering from the impacts of climate change, resulting in poor agricultural production and extreme poverty, thus, food security is likewise threatened.”
While data showed that there is an increase in food available per person compared with the food available in 1990, the Global Hunger Index considers the hunger situation in the country in 2016 as “serious.”
In 2015, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey said 13.4 percent of Filipino families suffer from involuntary hunger.
In a self-rated survey, the number of hungry Filipino families rose from 8.3 percent to 18.3 percent from 1999-2014, according to the SWS.
Arnado said food security is among the government’s priorities, which should not only focus on availability of food on the table but also ensure that the food on the tables of Filipinos is nutritious and safe to eat.
“Providing safe and nutritious food also means producing food crops in environment-friendly, climate-resilient and sustainable farming systems,” he added.
Meanwhile, Leonora Lava, Greenpeace Philippines food and ecological agriculture campaigner, said the current policy environment promotes “unsustainable farming practices that do not allow farmers to break free from inter-generational poverty, hunger and food insecurity.”