CEBU City––”Plant vegetables in your own backyard and try not to waste food and rice not just merely to cut on costs but to promote nutrition in the face of the global economic crisis where the possibility of hunger may worsen.”
Thus said National Nutrition Council (NNC) regional coordinator for Region 7 Parolita Mission especially to mothers even if the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) Survey revealed that hunger incidence in the country has gone down.
Hunger incidence in the country recorded a drop from 23.7 percent in the 4th quarter of 2008 to 15.5 percent in the 1st quarter of 2009 or a decline of 8.2 percent, according to the SWS Survey
NNC assistant secretary Ma. Bernardita Flores said the survey is a welcome development but that the government continues to intensify the implementation of programs under the Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Program (AHMP) to further lower the number of hungry families especially in provinces belonging to the poorest of the poor, majority of which are in Mindanao and in Luzon.
Flores said Cebu is not one classified as a poor province as only Negros Oriental in Central Visayas has been identified as belonging to Priority 2 that has the most number of hungry families. But this does not mean that families living in Cebu have never experienced hunger in their lives, the NNC official added.
In urban areas like Metro Cebu where land is limited, Mission said one can undertake urban farming where vegetable seeds can be planted in pots or plastics as she encouraged mothers to grow and raise your own food right in one’s backyard to prevent the occurrence of hunger.
Mission also encouraged breastfeeding to lactating women as well as prepare only nutritious and low-cost recipes and keep a healthy lifestyle shunning smoking and drinking alcohol as these do not only harm your body but is also a waste of money.
Flores also called on every Filipino to prioritize one’s budget and not waste it on things like buying a new cell phone.
The Arroyo Administration meanwhile, is exerting its efforts to address the two basic causes of hunger which are unavailable or insufficient food and lack of money to buy food. Programs under the AHMP aim to address these two basic causes, according to Flores.
Among the programs and plans for this year under the AHMP include speeding up the construction of ports, farm-to-market roads, small water impounding projects and diversion dams to increase food production, establishment of post-harvest facilities and more outlets of Barangay Bagsakan and Tindahan Natin as well as strengthen the Programang Gulayan sa Komunidad at Paaralan to address the supply side.
One measure to address the demand side is the creation of more employment as massive lay-offs and rising unemployment rate results from the worldwide financial crisis which is being done through the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) and other programs like micro-financing, Flores said.
The 2008 accomplishments under the AHMP in Central Visayas are: 151,156 preschool and school children and their families received one kilo of rice everyday that the child went to school and day care center; 104,946 families benefited from the Gulayan at Palaisdaan Para sa Masa Program; 671 Tindahan Natin were established serving 167,750 families; 128 Bigasan sa Parokya and two Barangay Bagsakan were set up which became sources to buy cheaper rice, vegetables, fruits, meat and fish; 2,590 clients were granted initial capital for the setting up of small enterprise; 30,056 people were trained by TESDA, 86 percent of whom have gained employment, this is learned. FCR OF PIA-CEBU