MANILA – The government would be rolling out its National Food Policy (NFP) by October as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Saturday said.
Nograles, chair of the government’s Zero Hunger Task Force, said the NFP should be ready by World Food Day, which is commemorated every year on October 16.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgency of coming out with the NFP rather than being a cause for delay.
“It is even more important because we face a pandemic. Experts point out that after the world deals with Covid-19, hunger will be the next problem, as well as poverty,” Nograles said.
Nograles, who is also co-Chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), said the pandemic has contributed to hunger after initially disrupting transportation and the movement of cargo, affecting the supply of food in the market.
The NFP would still aim to meet Sustainable Development Goal 2, or zero hunger by 2030, he added.
“With hunger experienced by many and possibly becoming worse… all the more we have to do it [zero hunger] by 2030,” he said.
On January, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 101 creating an Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger 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.
Per the EO, the NFP “shall outline national priorities based on a comprehensive understanding of the problem of hunger and related issues, and shall provide a roadmap for achieving zero hunger, taking into consideration existing laws and issuances.”
The NFP seeks to address food production, food accessibility and availability, nutrition and food resiliency.
Apart from the NFP, a memorandum of understanding on the implementation of the Enhanced Partnership against Hunger and Poverty (EPAPH) program was also signed in December 2019.
The EPAPH includes provisions for the institutional feeding programs; credit support to community-based organizations; and capacity-building and productivity improvement for community-based organizations. (PNA)