Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. yesterday called on Negrenses to step up the production of food amid a recent United Nations warning of a possible food shortage.
The UN noted that food prices rose sharply in December and are expected to remain high this year, raising concern that the world may approach another crisis.
This has been attributed to bad weather affecting crops in many food exporting countries, the governor noted.
Food security remains the flagship program of the provincial government, we must be prepared like Boy Scouts to cushion our people from a food shortage, he said.
But government can only do so much, the cooperation of those in the private sector is needed, he said.
He called on Negrenses to also engage in backyard gardening and on local government officials, especially barangay captains, to encourage this.
The provincial government also helps small farmers with fertilizer and seeds, the governor said.
In an effort to further boost rice production in Negros Occidental, the provincial government, is also providing a P5 million loan to the Negros Kabisig Livelihood Foundation that helps rice farmers, especially in the Bago area, Marañon said.
Of the P5 million, Kabisig will use P2.75 million for the rehabilitation of its rice mill and bodega and the remaining amount will be used for production loans to its farmer-members, he added.
This year, the provincial government will also buy palay at a support price and it will then be milled into rice at the Kabisig facility, he said.
The provincial government will engage in palay-buying since the National Food Authority has stopped doing so, he said.
“We need to help our rice farmers make a profit if we want to ensure enough rice supply for the province,” he said.
He noted that Negros Occidental is now producing more than 90 percent of its rice needs and has become an exporter of pork and poultry.
The provincial government is working on improving beef and vegetable production in Negros Occidental, he added.*CPG