Pojas said food insecurity is determined when the people lack access to sufficient resources to produce or buy quality food, when there is poor health or malnutrition among the people, and when the environment is fragile.
“The Malacanang should address the country’s state of food insecurity or else it will suffer a major backlash. Indeed, hungry people are angry people and the dole-outs, food coupons, and soup kitchens merely cover up the government’s incapacity and unwillingness to get to the core of the problem,” Pojas stated.
He continued to lambast the limitations on rice purchases and say these affirm that there is heightened food insecurity in the country.
“Marking purchasers with indelible ink or stamps is degrading. The proposed exclusion of the “non-poor” families from being able to purchase NFA rice is an insult of consumer’s rights. All the measures that the combined wits of the Department of Agriculture and the Malacanang only make the situation of the poor more dehumanizing,” Pojas said.
KMP, which has launched a three – day rekorrida all over Davao City said it is now consolidating a region-wide education and information campaign to tackle the rice crisis.
So far, KMP said it has distributed 10,000 leaflets as of the first day of its rekorrida. It is bound to distribute more and plans to conduct forums and informal discussions in various farmer communities in Davao City. The so- called leaflet explains the causes of the rice crisis and KMP’s proposed solution to mitigate the problem.
Among others, KMP believes that the solution to the current rice crisis is the 25% increase in the NFA’s procurement from local farmers and the stop of rice importation.
KMP said that should the NFA increase local rice procurement, more profits will go to the local industry, and will thus empower the local producers.
KMP also said that as a long – term solution, land use and crop conversion should be immediately stopped as crop-for-export farms have already “transformed and destroyed” wide agricultural lands.
“House Speaker Nograles proposed this measure. How good is his word? Will he really stand up against the DOLE- Stanfilco, DEL MONTE, SUMITOMO, CHIQUITA and other plantation tycoons?” Pojas challenged the new speaker of the house. Pojas added that if Nograles is “true” to his word, he should advise President Macapagal Arroyo “to implement genuine land reform and not the inutile Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) which he said is made, drafted and has remained to be an instrument to facilitate the entry of plantations over rice lands.