DAVAO CITY – With the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis threatening the supply chain all over the world, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol urged the Filipinos to grow their own food and not merely depend on imports.
On a Facebook post on Friday, Piñol, said noted that as a rich agricultural country, the Philippines must learn from the pandemic and purge itself from the mindset that the country could continue sourcing food supplies–especially rice–from other nations.
“As things stand now, with the threat of skyrocketing prices of rice in the world market, we would end up paying more than if we had poured investments on our local food production program,” he said.
He said that there is a need to review certain policies, especially on agriculture and fisheries investments.
“Giving agriculture and fisheries only PHP50 billion while a dole-out program gets PHP140 billion every year is a policy that needs to be reviewed,” Piñol said.
He cited the case in the United States, which he said is now learning “a painful lesson that over-dependence on the global supply chain for critical requirements like medicines could be very “dangerous.”
He also suggested that the Build, Build, Build Program must also shift its focus on rural and agricultural infrastructure rather than “excavating and repaving still functional highways.”
To boost rice sufficiency, Piñol said more irrigation facilities, maximum utilization of research and development programs such as the hybridization program and support for fertilization and credit must be given the needed support.
“I know that I have been publicly ridiculed because of this advocacy for rice sufficiency but I still hang on to the conviction that, with the needed support, the Philippines could be food sufficient,” the MinDA chief said.
“In times of crisis, the survival of a nation will depend on how well it could feed its people,” he added. (PNA)
Photo: Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Emmanuel Piñol. (PNA)