PHLSTAR

THE GOAL of attaining zero hunger by 2030 is achievable if agricultural production grows much faster than current levels, officials said.

In a recent dialogue organized by the Department of Agriculture (DA) on responsible agricultural investment in food, an official with the Department of Agrarian Reform’s Bureau of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development, Director Baltazar T. Cruz, said the

agriculture sector should sustainably grow by at least 7% per annum, boosted by investment programs from both the government and the private sector.

“Enabling policies and laws that would enable the private sector to participate very comprehensively are necessary conditions for us to achieve this sufficiency in food and lessen the impact of hunger and poverty,” Mr. Cruz said.

Hendel P. Cabral, Pilmico Foods Corp. vice-president for Farm Sales and Meat Operations, said the zero-hunger goal will be achieved by making food accessible and affordable to consumers.

“My take on it is that food must be affordable, but many things are at play with affordability. It has to be affordable so that the average Filipino can pay for it,” Mr. Cabral said.

Elyjean D. Portoza, Board of Investments’ Legal and Investment Compliance Service director, said the government should encourage investment in agri-fishery production processing, support services like nurseries, and supporting infrastructure.

“As long as we continue what we are doing, building our infrastructure, our farm-to-market roads, providing the necessary government interventions in terms of educating farmers, maximizing what our lands can offer, and reducing food waste — all these things should be done before we achieve zero hunger in 2030,” Ms. Portoza said.

Nestlé Philippines, Inc. Vice-President and Corporate Affairs Executive Ruth P. Novales said the hunger eradication goal should be a shared effort between the private sector and government.

“Everyone should (help determine priorities for) what and where to plant,” Ms. Novales said.

Shandy M. Hubilla, national deputy project director for the DA’s Philippine Rural Development Project, said the goal can be achieved by improving the productivity and income of farmers.

“When we look at the 17 (United Nations) sustainable development goals, we know that all of them are interlinked. It is contingent on a lot of factors. In the case of the DA, our competence is in sustainable food systems, on the supply side of the food chain. We could agro-industrialize by consistently increasing productivity and increase farmer income,” Mr. Hubilla said.

The DA will hold a national dialogue on food systems on July 13-14 ahead of the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) scheduled in September.

The national dialogue aims to address the five action tracks which will be tackled during the UNFSS, such as ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all; moving to sustainable consumption patterns; improving nature-positive production; promoting equitable livelihoods; and building resilience. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave