CITING disruptions in the global food supply chain during the Covid-19 pandemic, Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol pushes for a stronger local production and market network to ensure steady and sufficient supply of food staples in the country.
In his closing statement during the Mindanao Policy Forum, Piñol said that Minda has already crafted a Mindanao Food Supply and Demand Map, which aims to make Mindanao resilient in case of a calamity that could isolate it from the rest of the country.
"This map will take a look at what certain provinces produce in excess that is lacking in other provinces," Piñol added. It can also serve as a basis for local government units (LGUs) in crafting their local food security plans to better prepare for calamities.
"In the face of Covid-19 restrictions, people did not eat in restaurants or go to the movies. Their most important concern was the availability of food," Piñol said, adding that the new normal opens more agriculture and fisheries opportunities as investment areas.
These sectors are also seen to open up more jobs, especially for those displaced by the pandemic.
With the theme "Bouncing Back in the New Normal through Countryside Development and Agricultural Resilience," this year's forum focused on innovating the country's agriculture sector to ensure food security amid the Covid-19 pandemic and to improve the sector's resilience to another risk.
It also highlighted the role of agriculture in improving the country's economic recovery during the pandemic.
World Bank recently reported that agriculture was the only sector that remained resilient during the pandemic, posting 1.6 percent growth during the second quarter of the year.
Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) President Celia Reyes likewise noted that Mindanao has a vital role to play in ensuring food security in the country during and after the pandemic, given that it produces 40 percent of the country's food requirements and contributes about 30 percent to the national food trade.
The 6th Mindanao Policy Research Forum is jointly organized by Minda, PIDS, and the Ateneo de Davao University. (PR)