By Maya M. Padillo
Senator Cynthia Villar said recently that food security is currently not a problem in Mindanao or even in the Philippines because the country is still importing. However, she urged the agriculture sector to be self-sufficient for possible shortages in the future.
“Hindi problema ang food security ngayon because we can import but what we are pursuing in the future is kung magka-shortage all over then dapat meron tayong sariling food security and that is our concern in the future. We are encouraging agriculture para hindi natin ma experience yung problema ng shortage,” Villar said in an interview after her speech during the 4th National Conference of Barangay Nutrition Scholars held at SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premier on August 9.
Villar said the country cannot rely on importation, saying it is best to be self-sufficient in the country’s agricultural products. She said the country only produces 10% to 50% of what it needs. She said they are now encouraging the agriculture sector to produce 100% or even at least 70% of what the country needs.
Villar, who is also chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, is reportedly establishing farm schools in every town in the country to address food security. Presently, there are 900 farm schools nationwide and all are supported by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to teach farmers how to plant and earn through mechanization, technology and good seedlings.
“Ang ating farm ay isang small business na dapat kumita at makapagbigay ng hanapbuhay sa ating farmers and fishermen. Para kumita kailangan marunong umu-tang sa banko ng mura at I hope we can teach these in the farm schools in every town in the Philippines,” she said.
She also wants planting to be introduced and implemented in schools. She encouraged “Gulayan sa Paaralan” to assure free and availability of food. She also encouraged “Gulayan sa Barangay”.
Villar also urged people to do urban agriculture, which according to her can also help the Philippines ensure food security. She said a combination of urban agricultural production technologies can enable cities to produce their own food, complementing the government’s efforts in the countryside to maintain food security in the country.