DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) – The government should at least keep a buffer stock of food good for six months to ensure that the country will have enough food reserves in times of calamities.
Department of Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel Piñol pointed this out during the Green Convergence State of the Convergence State of Nature Assessment (Green SONA) event held at Silliman University recently which was attended by representatives of various sectors in the province.
Piñol’s topic was Philippine agriculture amid climate change wherein he shared to his audience some of the climate change adaptation measures which his department will implement.
The agricultural secretary also stressed that “Self-reliance and self-sufficiency are the battle cries of the day.”
To achieve this, the country must attain food sufficiency in rice, corn, livestock and poultry and then maintain a buffer stock of food.
Piñol disclosed he told President Rodrigo Duterte on this and he assured the latter that it will be his priority to make sure that there is a full supply of food for six months to assure the people that there will be enough food during disasters.
“Today, our rice buffer stock is only good for three months. Our problem is, what will happen if an eight-month El Niño would hit the country?,” Piñol said.
To address this, the DA official proposed a Rice Productivity Enhancement program, part of which is the review of the country’s irrigation and water management policies.
Piñol said he aims to have irrigation systems that will not harm the mountains and would be operational within six months to one year so that the target for food production will be realized.
Another measure is the conduct of nationwide soil analysis. “We would like to guide the Filipino farmer by telling him what kind of soil he has in his backyard so that he will be fully guided in planting what kind of crop,” he stressed.
Aside from this he also proposed that there should be effective soil rehabilitation and fertilization program, extensive program to improve rice farming technologies through sharing of farmers best practices.
Piñol also shared the challenge of the Department of Agriculture under the current administration is more on food production particularly in the readiness and preparedness to face the unpredictability of climate.
He noted that climate change and its negative effects El Niño and La Niña are real challenges and the country must adjust in order to survive.
“There are fundamental policy changes which the DA will have to adopt. The DA is staking a proactive stance, unlike before, we no longer ignore the warnings,” he said.
“La Niña preparedness is a must, it’s no longer a choice,” Piñol pointed out. (mbcn/ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was originally published at PIA Website on Aug. 16, 2016)