DA Secretary William Dar, in a press conference here Friday, bared that in the first quarter of the year the agriculture sector contracted by 0.4 percent and a much lower growth is expected this second quarter.
Dar informed that during the first month of implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, around 15 percent of farmers and fisherfolks were not able to do food production activities while 35 percent failed to market their produce.
The COVID pandemic has distorted the agriculture sector’s production and trading system so the country needs to work continuously and even increase food production output. As the COVID pandemic continues, the basic concern still is to ensure that there must be ample supply of food for the table as people need to eat three square meals a day, he said.
“FAITH or Food Always In The Home. Ito ung pamamaraan ngayon under pandemic period na mag-survive tayo. On top of the efforts of the farmers and fishers to do farming and fishing or to do higher level of production, sama-sama po tayong lahat,” he explained.
“Dito po sa COVID-19 pandemic war, by way of really increasing our food sufficiency level, domestic food production is our main goal now. We would like to believe that it is possible that this country can produce much of its food requirements. Tara Na, plant, plant, plant. Let’s Go!” Dar stressed.
“Plant, Plant, Plant” is the other tagline for DA’s ALPAS (Ahon Lahat Pagkaing Sapat) Kontra COVID Program. As food security strategies are already being pushed under the program, every Filipino should help in ensuring food security even by just producing vegetables and fruits at home.
Promotion of Urban gardening or backyard farming is among the strategies under ALPAS Kontra COVID wherein DA is investing on seeds/seedlings and other gardening needs which distribute to the people in partnership with the local government units and local agricultural offices.
Secretary Dar, who is also the Cabinet Official for Regional Development and Security for Cordillera, earlier presided a joint meeting of the Regional Task Force to End Local Armed Communist Conflict (RTF – ELCAC) with the Regional Peace and Order Council chaired by Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong on June 19 here.
Through the meeting, Dar looked into the accomplishments of the RTF – ELCAC in the campaign against local communist/extremists and in bringing of socio – economic programs, projects and advocacies to affected barangays, and the region’s situation against the war on COVID – 19 as well as to see on how the national government and the agriculture department can further help in regional development. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)
By Carlito C. Dar