FEATURE | How do we end hunger?

“We need to understand the hunger situation before we can fully address the problem,” said Nikkin Beronilla, Director of NAPC Policy Monitoring and Social Technology Services, as he spoke to the participants of the National Hunger Forum on June 10 at the Citystate Tower Hotel in Ermita, Manila.

Despite joint efforts of government and non-governmental organizations, hunger and malnutrition are still prevalent in the Philippines. There are two main reasons, Beronilla said, why households remain hungry and malnourished.

First, food eaten is not nutritious, which leads to malnourishment. “We have a wrong concept of nutrition,” Berronilla explained. “For instance, we want to ease hunger by eating junkfood and drinking softdrinks that do not contain nutrients that we need.”

The second reason is linked to poverty. Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show that 9.2% of Filipino families do not have enough money to buy their basic food needs and satisfy the nutritional requirements set by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute.

To address this, NAPC initiated the Integrated Community Food Production Program (ICFP) that helps poor families and communities grow their own vegetables and fruits, and raise poultry and livestock. Through the program, poor families can also improve their income through selling surplus fruits and vegetables.

“Feeding program is not the only answer when it comes to combating hunger and malnutrition. Poor families should have their own sources of nutritious food,” NAPC Secretary Joel Rocamora said. “When poor families produce their own food, we are addressing not only hunger and malnutrition but also poverty.”

In 2015, the program was implemented in 94 local government units throgh Bottom-up Budgeting. This year, 309 LGUs are implementing the program. (NAPC)


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