COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP), finalized the Bangsamoro Food Security and Nutrition Plan (BFSNP) during a 3-day workshop on from March 16-18 held in General Santos City.
BFSNP will serve as the blueprint of the Bangsamoro Government in ensuring that the region is self-reliant, food-secured, and resilient, with prosperous farmers and fisherfolks.
The plan was formulated by the Bangsamoro Food Security Task Force (BFSTF) for adoption of the Bangsamoro Economic and Development Council (BEDC). BFSTF is chaired by MAFAR Minister Mohammad Yacob and vice-chaired by BPDA Director General Engr. Mohajirin Ali.
Yacob underscored the issue of food security as one of the top priorities of the Bangsamoro Government. Being true to the commitment, Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim created the said task force.
“We have at least three (3) more years of extension, we are lucky enough na nabigyan po tayo ng chance to continue developing our food security roadmap. Ngayon, not just a roadmap, kung ma-approve ng BEDC, it’s really a plan for the food security,” Yacob said.
Meanwhile, Ali reported that based on the 2019 survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), around 34.7% of the total households in the BARMM suffers from moderate food insecurity saying “this food crisis in the BARMM is a wake-up call for tomorrow.”
Ali added that the region will continuously experience this food crisis due to underlying problems, unless the Bangsamoro Government begins to act now.
“That is why we are here today to really deepen the analysis on the root causes of the food insecurity in the region and incorporate into the 5-year food security and nutrition plan for the BARMM,” Ali further said.
On the other hand, Head of WFP Cotabato Sub-Office Mishael Argonza recommended that BFSTF should look into three (3) pillars of food security as basis on how to plan based on its mandates.
“First is the availability, second is the accessibility, and third is the utilization. We should look into how our people consume our commodities, and then all of these three pillars should be stable,” Argonza said.
In terms of stabilizing the issues on food and nutrition insecurity, Argonza urged everyone to collaborate with each other to promote social cohesion both vertical and horizontal at all levels.
“Tingnan natin ang mandato ng bawat isa, bawat ahensya, para paano natin idugtong iyong mga programa natin para makamtan iyong food-secure and self-reliant Bangsamoro as a vision that was stated and articulated under the Bangsamoro Food Security and Nutrition Plan and Roadmap,” he explained.
Members of the BFSTF include the ministries of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy (MENRE), Public Works (MPW), Interior and Local Government (MILG), Social Services and Development (MSSD), Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE), Health (MOH), Finance and Budget and Management (MFBM), Trade, Investment and Tourism (MTIT), Science and Technology (MOST), Labor and Employment (MOLE), Transportation and Communications (MOTC), Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs (MIPA), the Technical Management Service – Office of the Chief Minister (TMS-OCM), Bangsamoro Women Commission (BWC), National Nutrition Council (NNC-BARMM), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA-BARMM), and the Cooperative and Social Enterprise Authority (CSEA). (Kasan M. Usop, Jr./BIO)