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Private sector urged to help gov’t improve food security

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By Prince Golez

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles asked the private sector to help the government ensure food security and resiliency in the country.

A whole-of-government approach was necessary to provide the public with access to affordable food to eradicate hunger, Nograles said during his teleconference with members of the Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers, Inc. (PCFMI).

The head of the government’s Zero Hunger Task Force said the economic disruptions from the coronavirus (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.”

One of the government’s responses to the health crisis vis-a-vis food security is the 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 Resolution No. 33, according to him.

“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,” said Nograles.

“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,” he added.

Nograles stressed that COVID restrictions should compel concerned stakeholders “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. 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,” he said.

The anti-hunger task force 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.

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