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FAO urges PHL to accelerate food security and rural devt investment.

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), noting a resurgence in hunger in developing countries like the Philippines, is calling on the country's leaders to accelerate investment in food security and rural development, especially in Mindanao.

Jose Luis Fernandez, FAO representative in the Philippines issued the call during the FAO Year-end Development Partners Forum in Makati City late last month, a belated posting from the FAO information office said.

The FAO statement said Fernandez 'underscored the need for increased and accelerated investments in food security, rural development, resilience building and peace in Mindanao.'

'After steadily declining for over a decade, global hunger is on the rise again, affecting 815 million people in 2016. It is imperative that we reevaluate the way we work to ensure that we remain responsive to the needs of our time. As we have witnessed over the past four decades, bringing safe, affordable and nutritious food to everyone's table is as important as it is complex.' he said.

Fernandez said, 'Investments in the systems that address the most basic needs of people should continue to be a priority.'

'We cannot solve poverty, hunger, lack of education, ensure good health for all, achieve lasting peace and build sustainable cities when access to food and livelihoods, especially in rural areas, are not fully addressed,' he added.

It was Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo who attended the event as guest of honor.

She lauded the FAO for its presence, saying that the 40 years it was in the country had 'enhanced the lives of hundreds of thousands of Filipino families.'

'Our generation is tasked with its greatest challenge to eradicate poverty and extreme hunger while ensuring food security for all in a volatile world,' she said.

Robredo cited, as an example, the 'urgent need to restore of the food-supply chain in areas affected by the five-month-long armed conflict in Marawi City.'

'In communities like Marawi, where the economy and people's livelihood rely greatly on agriculture, the effects of conflict can be felt deeply across the food-value chain. That is why the job of rebuilding and reconstructing Marawi will have to take into account the reestablishment of sustainable food systems,' she said.

The FAO said the Philippines was among the 34 nations that founded FAO in October of 1945 'to ensure humanity's freedom from hunger, increase levels of nutrition, improve the condition of rural populations and contribute toward an expanding world economy.'

It also said the FAO's work in the country started in the late-1950s with a research program in marine fisheries biology, followed by 'several emergency response efforts, including controlling a coconut disease called cadang-cadang, which had already decimated some 10 million trees, and the livelihood recovery assistance in Mindanao after the catastrophic Moro Gulf earthquake and tsunami in 1976.'

A FAO country office was later established in November 1977 and officially opened its doors the following year.

Over the past 40 years, the FAO said, it has implemented more than 400 national projects in the Philippines, 'reaching over 504,000 farming and fishing families or over 2.5 million people. In addition, the Philippines also received support through FAO regional and global projects'.

FAO said it continued to focus 'on strengthening the country's food and nutrition security, increasing the sustainability and competitiveness of agricultural production, including fisheries and forestry.'

It added it also promotes the 'sustainable management of the environment and natural resources, while strengthening the country's resilience to the impacts of climate change, natural and human-induced disasters such as strong typhoons, drought and armed conflict, among others'.
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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Dec 13, 2017
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