TF Zero Hunger launches food policies for PH, BARMM

TF Zero Hunger launches food policies for PH, BARMM

Cabinet Secretary and head of Task Force (TF) Zero Hunger Karlo Nograles

MANILA – The government launched on Friday twin initiatives to avoid hunger and secure food for every Filipino’s table during the culmination of the World Food Day at the Department of Agriculture (DA) compound.

Cabinet Secretary and head of Task Force (TF) Zero Hunger Karlo Nograles said the goal of the National Food Policy (NFP) is to end hunger in the Philippines “within this generation’s lifetimes”.

Aside from the NFP, Nograles also led the virtual launch of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) Roadmap.

“The President (Rodrigo Duterte), by issuing Executive Order No. 101, acknowledged that there is a need to carefully coordinate, rationalize, monitor, and assess the efforts of involved government agencies to ensure not only a whole-of-nation approach but a whole-of-society collaboration in eradicating hunger and achieving food security,” Nograles said.

He said the two initiatives underscore the government’s commitment in addressing involuntary hunger, food security, undernutrition, child wasting, stunting, and mortality –– concerns that the President had prioritized even before the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

The NFP includes initiatives for ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture.

It states six key result areas including: (1) To review and rationalize existing policies, rules, and regulations related to the Zero Hunger efforts of government; (2) To ensure available and affordable food; (3) To secure nutrition adequacy; (4) To secure food accessibility and safety; (5) To ensure sustainable food systems, resiliency and food stability during emergencies; and (6) To ensure information, education, awareness, and people participation.

Serving as a catalyst to consolidate and harmonize efforts of the government to end hunger, the NFP shall constantly evolve to respond to the constant changes and needs of the times, Nograles envisions.

The BARMM FSN Roadmap, for its part, seeks to “achieve a sustainable, competitive, and accessible food supply chain for Bangsamoro; a balance intake of Halal food; and an adaptive capacity of its communities, which shall guide BARMM in paving the way for self-reliance, food security and resiliency”.

In the recent Global Hunger Index, the country ranked 70th out of 117 countries at a level of hunger classified as serious.

From 1990 to 2015, Filipinos have been experiencing serious levels of hunger, and while the nation’s scores and ratings have improved through the years, the country is still confronted by serious levels of hunger, the Palace official said.

It is a problem, Nograles said, that has been greatly compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic. A recent survey revealed that an estimated 7.6 million families reported involuntary hunger amid the ongoing pandemic.

The hunger incidence in September also saw a 9.8 point increase from the 20.9 percent level, or an estimated 5.2 million families, in July.

Given this, fighting hunger, Nograles stressed, is a “moral imperative, isang hudyat sa ating pagkakakilanlan bilang isang bansa.”

“Hindi lamang sa mga kasama kong naglilingkod sa pamahalaan, nakaatang ito sa ating balikat –– tayong lahat na kumilos at pagsikapang tumugon ng may determinasyon upang maagang dumating ang araw na wala ni isang Pilipino ang muling kakalam ang sikmura ([The fight against hunger] is not just for us in the government — all of us should help in resolving this with determination so in the future, no more Filipino should be hungry),” he said. (PR)

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