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Food security

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“A nation that can feed its own people is a nation more secure.” – President George W. Bush

In 2014, the World Bank briefer asserted that “Now, more than ever, the world needs to increase investment in agriculture, which is two to four times more effective in raising incomes among the very poor than growth in other sectors”.


Evident everywhere interest in farmlands is increasing and worse, it does not favor the poor and the marginalized in a more political sense. This is so because prices of food – its necessities and requirements are in a race to the skyrocketing prices of fuel. For almost a generation now, since the uproar of advocacies against perpetrators of climate change concerns – the demand for agriculture particularly food has become gargantuan while the source getting scarcer and agricultural farmlands its ownership becoming concentrated to the privileged.

In hindsight, there were waves of global food crises in 2008 towards 2012. This was on top of its continuing food price volatility that underscores vulnerability of the world’s food system. The world will need to feed 9 billion people by 2050. This is 70 percent increase in global agricultural production necessary to feed them as emphasized by the World Bank. Unless there is agricultural productivity putting sustainability as its core principle hundreds of millions people will remain hungry and trapped in poverty. The United Nations millennium development goal of “eradicating hunger and poverty” shall become lip service.

Ironically, a third of the world’s food supply goes to waste every year.


Making matters worse, those who live with chronic hunger and poverty are often excluded from representation, government services, and government benefits. This is poor governance, if not deliberate neglect of the marginalized yet major actors for agricultural productivity and sustainability. These are highlighted by their non-participation in decision making where the principles of transparency, participation and accountability are not translated to actions.

In most cases, in the Philippines, participation of the small farmers and ARB’s and other major stakeholders are seen as mere necessities of compliance rather than substantial components of governance or the rule of law. Good governance must be an integral part of programs for agriculture and food security that can be more effective across actors and food systems, thereby empowering stakeholders ensuring productivity in agriculture towards the achievement of food security. Financial re-investment and clear policies pertaining to agriculture surely will help governments realize food security goals.


The FAO defines food security as “all people, at all times, having physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

However, world hunger is rising, affecting nearly 10% of people globally. From 2019 to 2022, the number of undernourished people grew by as many as 150 million, a crisis driven largely by conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is food insecurity. Food insecurity is rooted on poverty that decreases the ability of states to develop agricultural productivity for market, job creation and economic growth. Access to food produces wide ranging positive impacts.


Contextually, FAO found that the Philippines from 2019 to 2021, 5.3 million Filipinos were severely food insecure and 48 million more experienced moderate or severe food insecurity. The Philippine Institute for Development Studies also reported that between the same period of 2019 to 2021, 5.7 million Filipinos were undernourished.

Moreover, land ownership concentrated to a few results to food in-accessibility and food insecurity. Without access to land and without control over produce puts the Filipino people in a continuous risk of succumbing to hunger and poverty. In Latin America several, the campaign for food security started with the campaign for land ownership.

Not only that agrarian advocates campaigned and fought for ownership of land but they also influenced agricultural policies by demanding financing and other pertinent support services including technologies. Land ownership alone cannot survive food insecurity.

In Negros, this mirrors the actual state of land ownership without capitalization, support services and appropriate technologies needed in agriculture among marginalized farmers and ARB’s. This is not to say that government did not do its job only that it manifests the lack of political will and commitment.

To achieve job creation, full market access and inclusive economic growth the first prescription is food security.*


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May 2024

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