Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles congratulated the attendees and participants of the “Kasapatan at Ugnayan ng Mamamayan sa Akmang Pagkain At Nutrisyon” or KUMAIN webinar series on Wednesday, stressing that “knowledge gained and partnerships made will go a long way in combatting hunger and poverty in the country.”
Nograles, chair of the Task Force on Zero Hunger, said the webinar series is part of the Philippine government’s compliance with its commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations 2030, particularly SDG No. 2 which aims to end hunger and ensure food security.
“We want to prioritize people’s nutrition, especially the children who suffer the long-term effects of food inadequacy,” he said in a press release issued on Wednesday.
Through KUMAIN, there would be a series of discussions on ways to properly coordinate efforts between government and the private sector as partners in key initiatives such as Ambisyon Natin 2040 and the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 Maginhawa Pillar, both intended to address issues relating to hunger and food production.
“Hunger remains a policy challenge,” Nograles said.
Based on the June 2020 Social Weather System (SWS) Mobile Survey, 20.9 percent of the population, or 5.2 million Filipinos experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months.
The figure, Nograles said, was the highest recorded in the last four years.
Meanwhile, the percentage of those who were uncertain as to their food source increased from 53.9 percent in 2018 to 64.1 percent last year, according to data from the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute’s 2019 Expanded National Nutrition Survey.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 101 on Jan. 10, 2020, which created the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger under the chairmanship of Nograles.
The Task Force immediately studied six key results areas while simultaneously focusing on its major deliverable: the first National Food Policy. There are plans to launch the programs in time for World Food Day next month on Oct. 16.
“We’re drafting a robust policy and implementation framework with the Covid-19 crisis fully in mind. It’s part of our Zero Hunger roadmap which our six TWGs are working double time on,” he said.
Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Blesilda Lantayona, National Nutrition Council Executive Director Azucena Dayanghirang, Jaypy De Juan of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute – Department of Science and Technology, DTI Director Jerry Clavesillas, Rocky Doctor of Nutridense Food Manufacturing Corporation, as well as representatives from Task Force partner agencies Departments of Social Welfare and Development, Health, and Education, and various stakeholders virtually attended the KUMAIN webinar series.
Among the outlined objectives of the KUMAIN series are: (1) build on know-how by target actors of the objective of IATF-Zero Hunger; (2) improve information of food and nutrition implementors on new technologies launched by DOST-FNRI (Food and Nutrition Research Institute) on food fortification; (3) pinpoint pilot areas for linkages between Expanded Partnership against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) and FNRI adaptors for the rollout of First 1000 Days programs, Supplementary Feeding Programs and School-Based Feeding Programs all over the country.
During the webinar, Nograles relayed to the online participants the urgency of expanding zero hunger programs and increasing access to safe and nutritious food products.
“Let’s all be part of this life-changing effort. Think of our children’s future. Nakasalalay sa ating mga kamay ang kaligtasan ng susunod na henerasyon (The security of the next generation depends on us). No cause is more important and noble than ensuring a bright, nutritious, and properly-fed future for all Filipinos,” he said. (PNA)