Press Release
April 15, 2010

"Food sovereignty is a right for all" -- Legarda

NP-NPC-LDP vice presidential bet Senator Loren Loren Legarda today championed food sovereignty, describing it as a right of everyone to define their own food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries systems.

"Right now, food prices continue to spiral upward because it's linked to international market forces beyond our control. And there's also the issue of climate change, of the drought constraining the productivity of our farmers and fisherfolk which also contribute to higher food prices. We know that the higher the food prices are, the more people will be unable to afford healthy food," said Legarda.

According to Legarda, one practical solution to address hunger is by encouraging people to cultivate a pinakbet garden in their backyards.

"Encouraging people to cultivate vegetable gardens in their backyard will not only provide food in the table, but will also address the growing number of malnourished children in the Philippines. It will make fruits and vegetables more accessible for children," Legarda said.

Legarda pointed out that "malnutrition is now a murderous, silent assassin in the country." She said that for every 100 Filipino children age aged 6 to 10, 27 are underweight, and 37 are stunted or short for their age.

According to the Asian Vegetable Research Development Center (AVRDC), regions with low-vegetable consumption, such as Visayas and Mindanao, have high prevalence of underweight and underheight children, compared to the national average. "The correlation can't be missed," said Legarda.

Legarda, who has chaired the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, also pushes for full support for the local vegetable industry to enhance the productivity of vegetable farmers and enable them to compete with their counterparts in developed countries.

"Kailangan nating suportahan ang vegetable industry tungo sa pagkakaroon ng seguridad sa pagkain - seguridad sa kasapatan at kalidad ng pagkain - at maging sa pagsabay sa pag-unlad ng industriya ng gulay sa mga higit na mayayamang bansa," Legarda said.

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