The government’s so-called strong commitment to achieving food security should start with protecting land and farms devoted to food production, strengthening local food production, and aiding local food producers and consumers. This is the reaction of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) to the Department of Agriculture’s Green Revolution 2.0: Plants for Bountiful Barangays Movement or Luntiang Ani ng Mamamayan project launched yesterday.
“For a government that equates food security to mere food supply and accessibility, the Green Revolution 2.0 is no more than a catchphrase, a superficial project. To address the widespread hunger and food crisis, we must work hard to attain food self-sufficiency. Consumers also need livelihood and aid to be able to have food on their tables,” according to KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.
KMP noted that steady inflation in the past months has eroded real wages. The current P570 daily minimum wage is equivalent to just P488, a far cry from the P1,117 Family Living Wage needed to cover basic daily needs.
“Lack of livelihood and low wages contributed to the prevailing national hunger. More than 18.1% or almost 20 million Filipinos are living under the poverty threshold or with a combined monthly income of PhP12,030 for a family of five. This is equivalent to PhP 401 per day for food and other needs of five persons. This is not enough. Pagkain ang unang nasasakripisyo dahil sa kakulangan ng kabuhayan. Kailangan ng dagdag na sahod, kabuhayan at ayuda,” the KMP leader added.
No to another Green Revolution
Ramos said while urban farming and gardening for food is necessary and worthwhile, especially at this time of skyrocketing food prices, this Green Revolution 2.0 espoused by DA should not undermine the primary need to genuinely develop and expand domestic food production, especially the production of main staples — rice and corn.
The first Green Revolution in the Philippines during the Marcos Sr. administration led to the adoption and proliferation of the IR8 — a high-yielding, semi-dwarf rice variety developed at the International Rice Research Institute. The Ministry of Agriculture’s then-local initiative, MASAGANA 99, required the use and distribution of IR8 hybridized seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides to farmers through loans.
DA’s Green Revolution 2.0 reportedly aims to improve nutrition by increasing the production and supply of fresh fruits and vegetables in urban, peri-urban, and rural areas. The project also seeks to turn communities into vegetable gardens. DA promotes the planting of “ampatola” or grafted ampalaya, scion, patola, and rootstock. DA said consumers planting vegetables in their homes will help ease the burden of the country’s food system and supply chain.
“Ang gustong sabihin ng DA sa Green Revolution 2.0 nito ay bahala na ang taumbayan maghanap at magtanim ng pagkain. Sa halip na ayusin mula sa ugat ang sistema ng pagkain, sapat na sa DA na may suplay ng pagkain, kahit na imported pa yan,” Ramos concluded. ###