FAO : Focus on agriculture, rural development
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - September 6, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations agriculture agency has declared the time ripe “to focus investments on agriculture and rural development for the Philippines to move forward and get back on its feet faster” than the threats and disasters that jeopardize food security and future generations.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said the growth of the Philippines’ agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors continues to be hampered by declining productivity and non-competitiveness, due to the limited implementation of technology, degradation of natural resources, and high vulnerability to climate change. 

FAO pledged to continue to help promote the sustainable management and competitive utilization of environment and natural resources through inclusive value chains.

FAO and the Philippines have launched the new FAO Country Programming Framework (CPF) 2018-2024, a six-year plan that will contribute to achieving greater food security and improved nutrition, and further develop the country’s agricultural sector.

Kundhavi Kadiresan, FAO assistant director-general and regional representative for Asia and the Pacific together with the National Economic and Development Authority director-general Ernesto Pernia, FAO representative José Luis Fernández, and other partners from government, private sector and civil society launched the new CPF in an event held at the UN House Manila in Mandaluyong City.

“In collaboration with development partners from the government, international development institutions, non-government organizations and the private sector, we have achieved a lot over the past four decades. But FAO and our partners also acknowledge that there is much more to be done to ensure that every Filipino will have access to safe, affordable and nutritious food and is resilient against threats of climate change and human-induced disasters,” Kadiresan said.

FAO pledged to also work closely with Philippine partners on promoting resilient agriculture, sustainable management of natural resources that support community livelihoods, and a common understanding of diversity and inequalities of areas affected by conflict to accelerate peace and development in Mindanao.

Pernia said the framework “does not merely indicate cooperation but also our renewed commitment and partnership for development. FAO’s development experience and expertise, which match our needs and priorities, make them a strong and dependable partner in development.”

The CPF is aligned with the priorities of the Philippine Development Plan 2017 – 2022, the United Nations – Philippine Partnership Framework for Sustainable Development, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as other national policies, strategies and plans related to agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector.

While reports indicate that there is enough food to feed the entire country, many Filipinos, especially children below the age of five, continue to suffer from malnutrition due to inadequate intake of food and nutrients.  

“At FAO we firmly believe, and will continue to emphasize, that we cannot address poverty, hunger and malnutrition, foster lasting peace and build sustainable cities and resilient communities when people’s access to food and livelihoods especially in rural areas are not fully addressed,” Fernández said.

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