DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 26 Jan) – The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has urged local government units (LGUs) to initiate “self-reliant food production programs” to increase local food sufficiency as the country faces an increase in the demand and prices of food supplies amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, MinDA chairman, said in a statement Tuesday that during his consultations with various LGUs, he pointed out that while Mindanao could sufficiently supply the needs of its population, “the rising prices of goods in Metro Manila and Luzon because of short supply could destabilize the food sufficiency programs of the region.”
“An example is the increased demand for live hogs from Mindanao to be shipped to Metro Manila which has resulted to a dramatic increase in the farm gate price from P90 per kilo last year to as high as P220 per kilo now,” he said.
Piñol added that the demand for beef, vegetables, and fish has also intensified “as Metro Manila grapples with skyrocketing food prices.”
MinDA is proposing various strategies to be adopted by Mindanao LGUs, including livestock production through the establishment of LGU-owned “cattle fattening feedlot” using locally procured cattle or imported steers; hog production program through a “communal hog raising concept” where LGUs will be setting up facilities with sufficient biosecurity safeguards against the African Swine Fever (ASF), which have previously affected the backyard hog industry.
A “free range chicken production program” is also being proposed by MinDA, and this will be done through the establishment of provincial breeding centers for locally bred poultry for distribution to farming families; fisheries and aquaculture development is also eyed by the agency by putting up post-harvest facilities such as ice makers and cold storage facilities “to encourage fishermen to catch more fish.
Moreover, MinDA is proposing the intensified vegetable production to be adopted by the LGUs to ensure “sufficient local supply at affordable local prices.”
“While these developments would benefit Mindanao food producers, an intensified effort to produce more should be undertaken in the region to ensure food sufficiency,” Piñol said.
He noted that these food production initiatives designed by the agency will also be financially supported by its banking partner, the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). (Warren Elijah E. Valdez / MindaNews)