Re: The e-Consultation on Hunger, Food and Nutrition Security

Joyce Wendam Department of Agriculture, Philippines
8-12-2012

Addressing the hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition challenges head on:

The Department of Agriculture (DA) in the Philippines under the competent leadership of its Secretary,  Hon. Proceso Alcala, has formulated a framework known as the "Agri-Pinoy" Framework.   This framework is the over-all strategic framework in pursuit of its mandate to promote sustainable agricultural growth and development. It is aimed at incresing the productivity and incomes of farmers and fisherfolk, and providing consumers wsith adequate, affordable, and nutritious basic food commodities. 

It serves as a guide of the personnel of the DA in carrying out their duties and responsibilities in order to meet the Philippine need.  With this framework, programs, projects and activities are focused, concentrated and directed towards the attainment of the DA's goal of achieving 100 per cent food security and self-sufficiency by the year 2013.

Guiding Principles  

The guiding principles of Agri-Pinoy are centered on:  food security and self-sufficiency;  sustainable agriculture and fishery; natural resource management; and, local development. 

The first principle - food security and self-sufficiency - underscores our objective to minimize depence on imports to meet national food requirements.  Hence, we have to vigorously develop our capability to produce all staples, particularly rice and corn and other basic food commodities. 

To achieve, the DA's goal of 100 per cent self-sufficiency by 2013,  two major strategies were developed:  increase rice production; and, decrease rice consumption through the promotion of alternative staple food such as rootcrops like sweet potato, cassava;  banana; white and yellow corn; vegetables, and others.

The second guiding principle is that our commitment to food security and self-sufficiency should be anchored on sustainability.   The true test of this is the capability to withstand two major challenges:  climate change; and, global market.  The principle of sustainability also applies to the required number and quality of our farmers and fishers.  We have an aging farming population, thus we are promoting appreciation of agriculture among schoolchildren through the "Gulayan sa Paaralan."  For young people to be attracted to agriculture and fisheries, there is a need for them to  see and interact with productive and prosperous farmers who may serve as role models. 

"Gulayan sa Paaralan" also complements the feeding program for the schoolchildren   wherein safe and nutritious foods are being produced by the schoolchildren themselves.   This may also serve as source of income of the school by selling the excess production and utilize the proceeds for the improvement of the facilities.  This "Gulayan sa Paaralan" should involve not only the teachers and students but also the parents and the community for project sustainability.

Also, we are helping small farmers and producers to become farmer-technicians and farmer-scientists, helping them to acquire business skills and facilitate their linkages to markets.

To address climate change concerns, organic agriculture is also being promoted.  To increase the resilience of agricultural communities, development of climate change sensitive technologies is a necessity.  Likewise, support services shoudl be provided to the most vulnerable communities. 

Da assistance programs cover the "from seeds to markets" spectrum.  Food self-sufficiency and sustainability are not only about ensuring supply.  It also includes demand-side management, especially in highly urbanized areas.  Consumer education is imperative to promote a better appreciation of the agriculture and fisheries sectors, and for the promotion of responsible consumption.

The principle of  sustainability is closely linked to the third and fourth guiding principles:  natural resource management; and, local development.

Bridging the gap, touching the heart

Due to devolution, as a result of the implementation of the Local Government Code of 1991, the DA has field personnel up to the regional level only.  This has resulted to a gap which must be appropriately addressed.  We need to bridge the gap between the DA and the local communities through forging of partnerships with the Local Governement Units (LGUs) and the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).  The Agri-Pinoy has a theme "Bridging the gap, touching the heart."  Meaning, the personnel of DA and also the stakeholders should show sincerity and commitment to deliver efficient and effective basic services to the farmers and fisherfolks for the improvement of the their productivity and profitability.   

As DA's over-all strategic framework, Agri-Pinoy exemplifies both continuity and change. 

Reference: 

Department of Agriculture "Agri-Pinoy"   Framework