MANILA – Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Tuesday urged the private sector to aid government efforts to ensure food security and resiliency in the country, stressing that a whole-of-government approach is necessary to provide the public with access to affordable food and eradicate hunger.
Speaking to members of the Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers, Inc. (PCFMI) via teleconference, Nograles said disruptions in the economy as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic highlight the need “to carefully coordinate, rationalize, monitor and assess the efforts of government agencies and involve the private sector to ensure a whole-of-nation approach in achieving food security and eradicating hunger.”
Nograles, head of the government’s Zero Hunger Task Force, said one of the government’s responses to the Covid-19 outbreak vis-a-vis food security is the planned integration of the National Food Policy (NFP) with the Food Security Framework established by Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) Resolution No. 33.
The Task Force on Zero Hunger is tasked to formulate the NFP; coordinate and rationalize government agencies and instrumentalities to ensure a whole-of-government approach in attaining zero hunger; and monitor and evaluate the government’s progress in ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture.
“We need an NFP that responds to the new normal and facilitates innovation in strategies in farm consolidation, modernization, industrialization, export promotion, and infrastructure development that results in resiliency in food production and availability, food accessibility and affordability, food price stability and food safety,” Nograles said. “All these will give an outcome of a food secure and resilient country; which I trust that your Chamber can provide the necessary support to — if not be among its champions.”
Nograles said the constraints and restrictions in place to protect the public from Covid-19 should compel the stakeholders involved in food production “to reinvent business models, reconfigure markets, and transcend boundaries to achieve economic growth in light of a ‘new normal’ of business operations.”
“I invite you to join government in seeking ways to innovate and to recover and rebuild, together,” he said. “It is only in understanding the more complex processes involving industry markets, systems, products, people, our environment and institutions brought about by this crisis that we can start over and regain our advantage as we prepare to transition to the new or better normal.” (ia/PR/PNA)