MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday said food sufficiency should get "preferential treatment", as the war in Ukraine sparked a global food crisis.
"Food is not just a trade commodity. Without it, people weaken and die. Societies come apart. It is more than a livelihood, it is an existential imperative and a moral one," he said in his inaugural address.
"Food sufficiency must get the preferential treatment the richest free trade countries always gave their agriculture sectors," added Marcos.
The country may face a food shortage within the year as crisis in Ukraine pushed many nations to limit or stop exports to secure their own supplies, the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc (PCAFI) recently said.
Countries furthest from the war are "most affected" in terms of food security, Marcos. said.
"Those bearing no blame for provoking it, [yet they] face the biggest risk of starvation. If financial aid is poured into them, though it never is, there is nothing to buy," he said.
Marcos said the agriculture sector "cries for the urgent attention that its neglect and misdirection now demands."
The President recently said he would head the agriculture department until it could be reorganized.