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PIA Press Release

Underinvestment tackled in Davao workshops for food summit

by Prix D Banzon

Davao City (12 March) -- Several issues causing underinvestment in agriculture were presented during the Davao regional workshop preparatory to the April 2008 Food Summit that was attended by multi sectoral groups here.

Nieva T. Natural, OIC-Director, planning service of the Department of Agriculture (DA) named at least four factors where she said that there is a need to minimize risks faced by agricultural and fisheries production due to its vulnerability to the vagaries of the weather thus affecting agriculture insurance.

She said that institutions that extend rural credit through their financing system perceive farmers and fisherfolk as high-risk clients.

Natural also said that to improve on agri-production, the investment environment must be made predicable while research and development be responsive to the needs of agricultural and fisheries market.

Meanwhile in the situationer she presented it stated that hunger incidence remains high as based on the Social Weather Report on the fourth quarter of 2007 on self-rated food poverty and households who experienced hunger of total households surveyed from September 1988 to December 2007.

The same situationer indicated that there is higher rice consumption than production citing the common diet and caloric intake of Filipinos the average intake is at 1,905 cal/person as against recommended daily allowance for men at 2,000 cal/person and women at 1,800 cal/person.

Filipinos diet she said comprises of 34 percent rice, vegetables, 13 percent, fish, 12 percent and others 41 percent.

FNRI 2003 data said that 4 out of 10 Filipino households eat below the recommended daily intake.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on the other hand directed the Department of Agriculture to conduct food summit with the end view of crafting a comprehensive program for rural development for the remainder of her term to address her goal of "Pagkain Sa Bawat Mesa - Laban sa Kahirapan".

The President also called for a surge in infrastructure buildup, which will include higher public spending on irrigation and post-harvest facilities.

The inputs of the regional workshops will presented in the food summit on April 4 aims to spawn double action programs between now and 2010 that dovetails with the DA's five-pillar growth and address the emerging global challenging such as climate change, surging food demand by fast-growing economies like China and India, and the deepening clash in certain countries between crop production for food and biofuel/feedstock. (PIA) [top]

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