MANILA - The Department of Agriculture should support local farmers of boost production instead of importing food supply such as rice, corn, and meat products to address shortage, an agriculture group said Wednesday.
Based on data, the Philippines has increased the imports of rice, chicken, fish and other commodities in 2021, with some rising to almost double its previous level, which is not the best way to address food shortage, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) president Rosendo So told ANC.
So said local farmers are capable of producing majority of the country's food supply if the DA supports the agriculture sector.
"If the secretary of agriculture is pro-local, the locals will product the maximum that it can. Before rice efficiency has already reached 96 percent, now we’re only 85 percent," So said.
"That’s the problem if the policy of DA is more on importation. We think the local can produce and the only way we could have productive local production is communication between the Department of Agriculture and local produce," he added.
Several countries have enacted policies to reduce the exportation of some food items to ensure security of supply for their own population.
So said the group is not calling for the stoppage of importation but to make it "fair."
"Only the balance will be imported that’s the best way. We’re not stopping the importation we just want the fair local production," he said.
The looming food crisis not just in the country was attributed, among others, to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.