Gloria Arroyo: Invest in agriculture sector
The public and private sectors are encouraged to invest in the agriculture sector as a long-term solution to end hunger in the country.
Pampanga Rep. and former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said this to participants of the Global Strategic Summit of Rise Against Hunger on Thursday at a barangay in Lapu-Lapu City.
Arroyo was the speaker of Saturday’s event organized by the Rise Against Hunger, which is an international private organization that aims to eradicate crises on famine and malnutrition in several parts of the world, including the Philippines.
According to the organizers, Arroyo was chosen as the speaker during the summit because of her efforts to end the rising incidents of hunger during her term as president.
The organizers, however, did not cite any specific programs that Arroyo implemented, when sought for comment.
Arroyo, for her part, said that if there is a way to end hunger, then that will be done by empowering the sector which is responsible for producing food.
“We saw the need to put more money in people’s pockets. Especially those who have the ability to produce resources. We need to invest in the productivity of farmers,” Arroyo said.
She also emphasized the need to modernize the country’s farming industry by improving farm-to-market roads and upgrading farming equipment among others.
“It is time to have a long-term attention to the agricultural sector (which we can rely on to address problems in the supply of food),” Arroyo added.
Rise for Hunger aims to eliminate hunger by 2030.
Arroyo, in her speech, said that by the time she left the presidency post in 2010, the hunger level in the Philippines declined to 12 percent from 20 percent in 2006.
“But a lot more needs to be done. This is why I’m calling for a public-private partnership to end hunger,” she added.
The summit, held at Barangay Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, was attended by at least 10 foreign representatives of Rise Against Hunger from France, Italy, India and South Africa.
The programs of the Rise for Hunger organization include training local farmers to adapt crop diversification in their farmlands, encouraging farmers to practice sustainable farming, and distributing free essential vitamins for malnourished children.
Organizers also said that malnourished children in Carmen town in northern Cebu are among the 50,000 beneficiaries of the programs of the Rise Against Hunger in the Philippines.
On Monday, members of the organization will hold a feeding program for the 350 children beneficiaries of the town. They will serve soy-and-rice pudding (lugaw with soy beans), champorado, coconut milk-stew (ginataan), and fish flakes to the beneficiaries.
Pamela Baricuatro, the executive of Simply Share Foundation, Rise Against Hunger’s partner organization in Cebu, said they are also targeting to provide free food to malnourished children in the town of Malabuyoc, which is 125 km from Cebu City.
“Data from the National Nutrition Council found out that Malabuyoc has the highest rate of malnourishment among elementary students,” said Baricuatro.
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