Group: Philippines must improve food production standards

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Sunday, August 10, 2014


WITH the increasing demand, both global and regional, for agricultural products, safety in food production is one of the most urgent issues that the country has to face to meet expectations in time for the Asean Integration next year.

The Safety Organization of the Philippines Inc. (Sopi) said the country, being mostly agricultural, must improve its standards from farming to the marketing levels of food production.

“Today, buyers and consumers are more meticulous when it comes to the quality and safety of food and other agricultural products that they buy or trade, thus we need to follow the international standard and improve on how we produce food products in the country,” said Eros Zuniga, Sopi national president.

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City Mayor Oscar Moreno, as guest speaker during the 3rd National Agricultural Safety Convention held here on August 6-8, said that the country has lots of potentials to be at par or even surpass other nations, particularly among the member countries of the Asean on safety in food production.

The National Sopi convention was hosted by the Sopi northern Mindanao Chapter.

“We should measure up and let the world know that what they can do, we can do, too. And we must not forget the fundamentals, the basics and the simplicity in trying to reach our economic goals,” Moreno said.
He said that although the Asean Integration poses opportunities, it also brings with it threats.

“But we can surmount the odds since we have a skilful citizenry, professionals, whose line of expertise are far more excellent than in other countries,” he added.

With the theme “Safe Food, Safe World,” Sopi underscores the importance of immediate and appropriate response to issues as the entire spectrum of production demands that agricultural safety and health measures are in place for local farmers, farm households and consumers as well as the agricultural environment.

Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, in a message, said the need for immediate attention to ensure food quality and safety through management systems as well as food certification and standardization are areas that Sopi should advocate through information, communication and education campaigns that would ultimately bind the Filipinos to a common goal safe food in a safe agricultural environment.

And uphold the welfare of the Filipino farmers and the entire country.
Dr. Gilbert Gille, Sopi region 10 president, said that it is part of their mandate to look into the unlawful practices in the agricultural sector, particularly in the hiring of minors and the women workforce who are being exploited by their employers.

A large percentage of the country’s workforce is in agriculture industry where they face numerous hazards and risks and often they are not given the appropriate attention which leaves them more vulnerable.

It is one of the economic sectors where many workers suffer occupational accidents and ill health each year.

It is the largest sector for female employment in many countries, especially in Asia where the Philippines is situated.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 11, 2014.

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