Press Release
March 15, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on the government to act swiftly and decisively on food security after the United Nations warned that the massive global crisis barely three year ago will likely happen again.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization said yesterday that the rapid rise in oil prices coupled with the drawdown in worldwide grain stocks may very well lead to a food crisis rivaling that of 2007-2008 when food riots broke out in 40 countries.

"The continuing unrest in the Middle East and the recent tragedy that hit Japan should compel us to address the systemic reasons that make us food insecure," he said.

During a privilege speech last week, Angara said that the FAO's Food Price Index increased for the eighth straight month in February, the highest in more than 20 years.

President Aquino will reportedly meet the Department of Agriculture and the National Food Authority today to assess our country's preparedness following persistent calls for action, such as Angara's impassioned privilege speech about the impending food crisis.

"We're glad that the administration heeded our calls. We are prepared to support the government's plans to stem this crisis," said Angara.

Angara, former Agriculture secretary and vice-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, suggested food security measures that the Philippines can adopt. In the short-term, he said the government must install post-harvest facilities to curb wastage which can readily cover supply shortfalls, as well as rehabilitate 800,000 hectares of irrigation canals in disrepair.

But Angara reiterated that long-term solutions entail investing in agricultural infrastructure and R&D.

"As a developing country, we must prioritize food security above anything else because the brunt of price hikes affects the poorest and most vulnerable segments of our society," he pointed out.

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