DAVAO CITY: The chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has described the country’s economic managers, policy planners and lawmakers as “simply deaf and blind” to his contention that the Philippines could be on the road to self-sufficiency if only Mindanao farmers were given government support.
“This [belief] has always been my battlecry and advocacy. Unfortunately, my contention that the Philippines could be self-sufficient in food, especially rice, has been derided and ridiculed,” Emmanuel Piñol said over the weekend.
According to the MinDA chairman, the farmers in Mindanao, could feed the country if they were given support and access to markets.
His statement came after the reported success of the three-day MinDA-Tienda in Manila recently.
In a statement, Piñol said Mindanao produces 45 percent of food requirements of the country and it could feed the nation if only the region were given a fair share of national resources.
“The people who do not believe that the Philippines could be self-sufficient in food may not even have ventured to the countryside where vast areas of fertile lands remain unutilized,” the MinDA chief added.
But, according to Piñol, Mindanao’s 16-percent share of the national budget this year is expected to even be lowered in 2021 with only 11 percent.
“We have to continue our advocacy to prove to them that the farmers and fishermen of Mindanao and the whole country could actually produce enough food for our people,” he said.
Piñol added that the MinDA would lead the advocacy in increasing awareness on potentials of Mindanao as a major source of agricultural and fisheries products, both for local consumption and for export.