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Food security in troubled times

Republika

THE WAY I SEE IT | Susan Amoroso

The government is facing a dilemma. Leaders are flexing their muscles on high gear. Covid cases remain high. This is a sad fact. Despite the vaccines, economic lockdowns, travel restrictions, face masks, face shields and social distancing. Not only is there a health crisis but the country faces a grim economy in the months and even years ahead.


There is one sure way to get the country back on its track. Food security. This is the lifelong advocacy of Susan Reyes-National President of the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association of the Philippines, Inc. (ARBA).


ARBA is the umbrella organization of all beneficiaries/farmers under the Agrarian Reform Law during President Ferdinand Marcos and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) promulgated under President Corazon Aquino to the present.


To date its membership runs into millions that include farmers and fisherfolks nationwide.


Reyes said ARBA since 1979 has continued to work with the government in nation building and the promotion of socio-economic programs for its members and their families.


Food security for every Filipino is at the heart of our organization, Reyes said.


“Thus, we need President Duterte to look beyond covid and provide all the means for the agricultural sector to flourish so that we do not depend on food imports to feed our countrymen.”


“While ARBA is nationwide with regional and provincial chapters, we work at the grassroots level. We have continuously conducted training seminars at the barangays to empower our farmers and fisherfolks. We try to establish dynamic linkages with private and public entities to promote self-sufficiency within our ranks. That way we become the solution, not the problem,” Reyes said.


Reyes said the problems the country is facing at present is huge. Businesses are down. Tourist arrivals are nil. The only way for our people to survive is to at least be self-reliant in food. Farm-to-market logistics is imperative. “We hope the government also provides the financial and technical assistance. Lowering tariffs on food imports will only lead to more imports to the detriment of our local producers,” Reyes said.


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