In a recently held virtual meeting with five other Asian agriculture ministers, Agriculture Secretary William Dar cited the need for regional and international collaboration in the agriculture sector in a bid to build more sustainable food systems.
As he acknowledged that our countries are confronted with similar challenges to agriculture and food systems, Dar encouraged his counterparts to unite and strive to achieve desired goals and initiate transformative change in their respective countries.
He shared that the Philippines, through the Department of Agriculture, recently concluded the National Food Systems Dialogue. The results or insights and recommendations will be shared during the upcoming Rome pre-summit, and at the New York United Nations Food Systems (UNFSS) in September.
Dar is confident that by the end of the UNFSS, we will gain more commitments and solutions and it is incumbent upon us to scrutinize all these and draw deeply to jointly work to build a better world where agricultural and food systems are sustainable and resilient, and citizens enjoy affordable, safe and nutritious food.
Motherhood statements are always expected in high level meetings but it would benefit the country if we can enter into regional collaborations which aim to achieve a balance between productivity and environmental protection among countries that share agricultural production peculiarities such as the distinctive climate that features high temperatures and humidity, the abundance of paddy fields, and high percentage of small and medium sized farms.
Just as we can learn and benefit from our neighbors whose agricultural sectors are doing better, we also have something to offer in a collaboration to build better agricultural and food systems across the region. By putting brains and resources together, food systems can be upgraded and more people benefit, all the way from farmers to consumers.
Hopefully, the Filipino farmers can start reaping the fruits of this planned collaboration in the near future.*