As the Philippines prepares for the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) in September, the Department of Agriculture (DA) emphasized the importance of empowering the farmers toward achieving food sustainability.
DA Secretary William Dar said that while the current generation produces more per hectare than the farmers before them, there are also bigger problems that confront the agriculture sector.
“They confront unprecedented challenges like the high cost of inputs, the lack of capital and rural infrastructure, climate change, and extreme poverty,” Dar said in his speech during the National Food Systems Dialogue at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management Convention Hall in Quezon City on Tuesday.
UN Secretary General António Guterres called for the Food Systems Summit in New York City as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Dar said some of the action tracks that will be tackled in the UNFSS are access to safe and nutritious food for all; shifting to sustainable consumption patterns; boosting nature-positive production; advancing equitable livelihoods; and building resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks, and stresses.
He said the DA will build on sustainable market-oriented development in agriculture, higher levels of farm productivity and incomes, and food security for all.
“We are not entirely starting from scratch. We are guided by our One DA Reform Agenda and Food Security Development Framework anchored on modernization, industrialization, value chain-based consolidation, and professionalization being undertaken via a whole-of-society consultation process,” he said.
The dialogue, which will resume Wednesday, will guide the national policy and will form the foundation for future programs and projects.
“Our decisions will likewise inform our participation in the UNFSS in September. I am confident we will do well. The task of progress may not be easy, and success is not always inevitable. But, when people of good will meet with a single intent, the road to growth is open,” Dar said. (PNA)