Press Release
November 2, 2012


Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged stakeholders in the agricultural sector to cut down waste and enhance their production lines, citing a report commissioned by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that showed a little over one-third --or 35.8 percent--of food produced for human consumption in South and Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, is lost or wasted every year.

The 2011 study outlined that food is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain but for most developing countries, wastage occurs in the initial and middle stages.

"It is inevitable that some produce is lost somewhere in the process, but this should be minimized as much as possible," said Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology. "These inefficiencies ought to be resolved quickly if we are to ensure that every Filipino household has access to affordable food."

Of the fruits and vegetables produced in South and Southeast Asia, 15 percent is wasted during agricultural production; 9 percent is wasted during post-harvest handling and storage; 25 percent during processing and packaging; 10 percent during distribution; and only 7 percent during consumption.

"When a huge percentage of a particular food is wasted, its price spikes just like how palay does during calamities. And when prices go up, the poorest and the most vulnerable segments of our society are the first who get affected," explained Angara, noting that 16 million Filipinos are now considered undernourished.

The former UP President then noted that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to receive P73.6 billion under the proposed budget for 2013--marking an allocation that is 19.9 percent higher than the allotment for 2012.

"Pouring more resources into our agriculture is definitely a step in the right direction," continued Angara. "But there should also be a concerted national effort towards improving the country's production chains and plugging up any of the points where wastage occurs."

He concluded, "Increasing agricultural productivity and food security is an equalizing effort to save energy and protect the poor from expensive commodities. For the past two decades food aid had been the primary strategy to alleviate hunger and poverty in the country. It's about time that we shift from this mindset and invest more in agriculture instead."

A former Secretary of the DA, Angara is the author of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (RA 8435) which aims to modernize the agriculture and fisheries sectors to increase profitability and improve global adaptation.

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