By Roy Mabasa
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Philippine government have launched a six-year plan that will contribute to achieving greater food security and improved nutrition, and further develop the country’s agricultural sector.
At the recent launch of the Country Programming Framework (CPF) 2018 – 2024 at the UN House in Mandaluyong City, FAO assistant director-general and regional representative for Asia and the Pacific Kundhavi Kadiresan said the collaboration with development partners from government, international development institutions, nongovernment organizations and the private sector “have achieved a lot over the past four decades.”
Kadiresan, however, admitted 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.
Under the new framework, the UN-backed agency has pledged to 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.
In a statement, the FAO said the CPF is aligned with the priorities of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017 – 2022, the UN – Philippine Partnership Framework for Sustainable Development (PFSD), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as other national policies, strategies, and plans related to agriculture, fisheries, and forestry sector.
It noted that while reports indicate 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.”
The FAO added that it will contribute to improving nutrition by strengthening capacities at the national and local levels on mobilizing resources, incorporating nutrition-sensitive food systems in development plans, and establishing or enhancing information systems related to food security and nutrition such as the Early Warning System-Food and Nutrition Security (EWS-FNS) and the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, who was at the launch, said the framework “does not merely indicate cooperation but also our renewed commitment and partnership for development.”
“Hence, this framework is focused on areas where FAO can make transformative contributions. These areas include human capital development, specifically the outcome on improved nutrition for all; economic opportunities in agriculture, fisheries, and forestry; ecological integrity; reducing vulnerability of individuals and families; and just and lasting peace,” Pernia said.
For his part, FAO representative in Manila José Luis Fernández assured that his agency will contribute to improving access of poor rural producers, small farmers, fisherfolks, agrarian reform beneficiaries, and other value chain actors, including indigenous peoples (IPs), to appropriate global production and postharvest practices and technologies.