Home » News » Piñol eyes food security plans

Piñol eyes food security plans


THE lack of local Food Security Plan in the areas of Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi or ZAMBASULTA is being blamed as one of the culprits of the rice crisis in the area.

In his latest Facebook post, Piñol said ZAMBASULTA was thrown into a crisis when the Malaysian Government closed its ports in Sandakan and Labuan that led to a cutting off of rice supply and eventually relying on smuggled rice.

“The local government units simply had no back-up plan and they never prepared for the eventuality that the smuggling of rice would stop. The whole area could only supply 10% of the consumption requirement of 220,000 metric tons every year,” said Piñol.

“Learning lessons from the ZAMBASULTA rice crisis, I asked Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano of Policy and Planning and Assistant Secretary for Operations Andrew Villacorta to prepare a localized Food Security Planning program which would look into the needs and the capacity of each province and town to produce food,” added Piñol.

Piñol said his office together with the help of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will ask towns and provinces around the country to prepare their local food security plans indicating how they could feed their constituents and what support they need from the national government.

“Before the end of this month, all of the country’s Governors and Mayors will be invited by the DA to a one-day forum of four clusters – Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao – where they will be asked to submit their local food security plans,” said Piñol.

Among the information Piñol would be asking from these local governments are their specific population, total consumption of basic food commodities like rice or corn in the Eastern Visayan Region, meat, fish and vegetables, Level of self-sufficiency for each of the identified basic food items, and areas for potential food production.

“The DA needs these inputs because there is simply no way for us to determine which river or creek could be the source of water for the local agricultural areas, where would they need roads to transport food commodities and what machinery and other support they need to increase their production,” added Piñol.

Piñol plans to submit to president Duterte the output of this Localized Food Security Planning by the end of September and hopes they would be able to prevail upon the government’s economic managers to take a second look at agriculture and food security and its impact on national stability and security.