By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is now crafting measures for the “rebooting” of the country’s agriculture sector towards a “new normal.”
“First, we have to survive initially and be resilient. We had to have enough food to survive because when you are healthy and strong, you can produce food as well,” said DA Secretary William Dar, who chairs the Task Group on Food Security under the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic has surfaced the need to increase domestic production of basic agricultural products to be able to attain a higher food sufficiency level and become more resilient in times of crisis.
“The second stage is the rebooting the agriculture sector. We are going to pursue a new thinking for the Philippine agriculture, rural industrialization, inclusive agribusiness, and farm consolidation. We have to promote farming guided by inclusive agribusiness to have economies of scale. Big business and small farmers partnership will be pursued,” he added.
Dar emphasized the importance of maximizing the use of “every space that we have that we can use for food production.”
The DA’s battle cry “Plant, Plant, Plant” applies not only to crops but also to livestock, poultry, fisheries, aquaculture, coastal fishing, and open seas, the DA chief said.
“Let us increase our investments and elevate our food production. Whatever you do, even in times of war like the war against COVID-19, food will always be very fundamental,” he added.