ILOILO CITY – The Department of Agriculture-Western Visayas has gathered key players in the agriculture and fishery sector in the region for a two-day food summit to tackle issues and concerns to boost the quality and availability of agricultural commodities in the new normal.
“With the new normal, we need to survive and become resilient. We must focus on enhancing agricultural commodities in terms of production, availability, accessibility, price stability, food sustainability, and food safety,” Engr. Remelyn R. Recoter, regional executive director for DA-Western Visayas, said in a phone interview on Tuesday.
Agricultural commodities are the staple crops and animals produced or raised on farms or plantations.
Stakeholders for identified priority commodities such as rice, coffee, cacao, mangoes, swine, poultry, corn, and sugarcane as well as farmers leaders, municipal and provincial agri-fishery councils, private sector, people from the academe, and DA focal persons joined the summit which ended Tuesday.
During the summit, the participants were asked to determine challenges, give recommendations, and identify short-, medium-. and long-term plans to achieve the goals.
The result, she said, will be submitted to the central office in time for the national food security summit next month.
“We will integrate results of the regional summit and come up with interventions, not solely by DA but other stakeholders. It will likewise come from other agencies, national government agencies, local government units, and the private sector,” she said, adding that they may come up with either programs or projects in response to different challenges particularly amid the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Recoter said the previous island-wide food security summit was conducted before the health pandemic.
Hence, there is a need to have a plan based on the new normal taking into consideration the health pandemic, African swine fever, and even calamities.
She added that “2020 is very damaging to agriculture and fishery sector”.
“At this time, we are in a new normal. So we need to reboot and grow the different stakeholders in the agriculture and fishery sector,” she said.
In her presentation during the first day of the summit, Recoter said that the region is less sufficient in eggs at only four percent, upland vegetables at seven percent, lowland vegetables at 42 percent. and yellow corn for feeds at 34 percent.
However, the region is 115 percent sufficient on rice, 294 percent on banana, 107 percent sufficient on pork, 189 percent on chicken, 131 percent on beef, and 193 percent on white corn.
“We really have to sustain our sufficient commodities, we should not be lax, we have to maintain, increase production with the end in mind that producers can also earn a profit,” she said. (PNA)