Gov't, private sector draft policies for food security, sufficiency

February 11, 2011 12:47 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

ANTIPOLO CITY, Feb. 10 — The government is optimistic that it will soon be able to craft long-term policies to address the major problems of the agriculture and fishery sectors.

"We have invited different groups here today to discuss issues and find solutions through the collective efforts of the national government, the Upper and the Lower Houses (of Congress), other related agencies and the agricultural stakeholders," said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala during the opening ceremonies Thursday of the two-day Agriculture and Fisheries 2025 Summit, held at the Eugenio Lopez Center here.

"Together, we can develop bright ideas," he added.

Alcala said the objective of the summit "is to combine all efforts and develop what has been given to us, so we may be able to feed the country in the years to come."

For his part, Senator Francis Pangilinan, chairman of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, said the government, private sector, and other stakeholders come together with the hope that after the summit, "we would share the common understanding that we will be able to reshape and institute change in agriculture and fisheries more effectively if we are united, marching towards common goals and common vision for the future."

"Kung nais natin ng pagbabago, kinakailangan natin na maging makabago. We cannot use the same worn-out, outmoded formulas and expect to see real change in agriculture and fisheries. We need to re-imagine what needs to be done. We must be willing to move away from our comfort zones. We need to learn to experiment more, to take more risks and employ new techniques and new methods if we wish to see change happen," he said.

"This is the time for us to discuss and seek solutions to our decades-old problems facing Philippine agriculture and fisheries. This is the time when we have to synergize what we have to attain the status of a developed nation," he added.

According to Pangilinan, the first six years of the administration is critical to the blueprinting and implementing of policies for the development of the Philippine agriculture and fisheries, attain food security and sufficiency, and eventually achieve global competitiveness.

Pangilinan said the government cannot do it alone.

"We recognize the crucial role the private industries play in policy-making, and so we urge you to join us by proposing measures for legislation and implementation," he said.

The summit is attended by about 170 key players and stakeholders from the different sectors of the local agriculture, including rice, corn, high value commercial crops, livestock and poultry, fisheries and other related groups. (PNA)

DCT/scs/LGI/utb

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