The Department of Agriculture (DA-7) has urged the various local government units (LGUs) in Central Visayas to revisit, update and craft their respective localized Food Security Plan (FSP) to address food accessibility and availability in local communities in a DA-LGU Harmonization of Agricultural Initiatives conference on December 11 held in Balamban Cebu.

DA7 Regional Executive Director Atty. Salvador Diputado, the Local Chief Executives (LCEs) that they need to craft or revisit their FSP for them to know if their municipality is food-secured.

Diputado said that the FSP guides food implementers on the food requirement in their respective areas by aligning priority programs and interventions to the national and the actual needs of their local farmers.

The FSP provides information and data on town’s total population, consumption needs of the populace per commodity, existing agricultural crops present in the locality, crop and livestock production, areas planted and production yield as well as the existing and potential areas for growing food, and the needed production interventions.

“With these available data and information, the LGUs can identify if they have surplus or deficit on agricultural commodities,” Diputado said. The FSP will help identify possible sources of food if a certain municipality cannot produce enough food for its population, he added.

Diputado encouraged the LCEs to enact ordinances that help address food production as well as environmental protection. One ordinance he requested is the establishment of rainwater impounding system.

Impounding the rainwater will prevent or lessen street flooding. It will also serve as potable drinking water and for watering of plants and other agriculture-related activities, Diputado said.

He also asked for other ordinances such as the single-use plastic and the buy-back scheme of farmers’ produce, explaining that the LGUs can give incentives to its constituents by buying the plastic bottles in the form of cash or in-kind.

“With this, you can already implement the Solid Waste Management and at same time help your people earn,” he added.

On the buy-back scheme, since the LGUs have campaigned for the establishment of the Gulayan sa Barangay or edible landscaping under the Plant, Plant, Plant Program (4Ps), all produce of the farmers the LGUs can buy and sell them to the markets.

When LGUs buy direct from farmers at a price set by the LGUs based on current market price, they are now trimming down the layers of commissioners and your consumers will enjoy a much cheaper price of commodities, Diputado said.

Diputado bared that on the concern of fund source, the LGU can tap the cooperatives to manage the buying and selling of produce. The DA can also assist the cooperatives avail of financial loan assistance through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC).

Balamban Mayor Alex Binghay informed the participants to observe and be keen enough to know the problems of their locality, especially on food availability. “The DA is here with their attached agencies to help us,” Binghay said.

Cebu 3rd District Representative Pablo John Garcia shared that this pandemic has affected the livelihood of the people. This is an opportunity for every municipality to think of strengthening their food production.

“This event is the start of a stronger collaboration among government agencies as we bring these agencies closer to you. Let’s help one another in ensuring food security”, Diputado said.