November 4, 2011
SENATOR Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, chairman of the Senate committees on agriculture and food, and social justice and rural development, has called for an expansion of the backyard gardening component of the Aquino administration’s “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program”, otherwise known as CCT, to alleviate rising hunger amid rising food prices.
Pangilinan gave this recommendation after the Social Weather Station had reported that 4.3 million families have gone hungry in the past quarter and that “overall hunger” has risen sharply in Metro Manila and Luzon. This is coupled with a commentary published by an official of the Asian Development Bank saying that “the world may have already entered a new era where persistently high food prices are the ‘New Normal.’”
“If rising prices are the ‘new normal,’ then we cannot let rising hunger be part of this ‘new normal.’ It is unacceptable that people go on the entire day without any food to eat. We need to exhaust all means to find a creative solution,” Pangilinan says.
Part of the solution, he says, may just be in people’s backyards.
“We have seen through testimonies and case studies that backyard gardening has been effective in alleviating hunger and even in giving poor families and additional source of income,” Pangilinan points out.
The second step, the lawmaker suggests, is to develop medium-to-long-term programs to bring more families back to farming in the rural areas, to make them more productive, less dependent on government hand-outs, and able to contribute to food security in the country.
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