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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

DA leads nation in ‘World Food Day’ celebration, with Lea Salonga as guest

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and the entire Department of Agriculture family nationwide will lead the observance of the 2011 World Food Day (WFD), starting on October 10 and culminating on October 14, with Lea Salonga as special guest.

The DA in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has been spearheading the observance World Food Day in the Philippines every 16th of October since 1980 to promote awareness of food security for all in the fight against world hunger and malnutrition. It is also the founding anniversary of the FAO, which was organized in October 16, 1979 by UN member-countries, including the Philippines.

Lea Salonga was appointed last year by the FAO as one of the four ‘Goodwill Ambassadors’ to help in the global fight against hunger. The three others are Canadian singer Celine Dion, American actress Susan Sarandon, and Italian actor Raoul Bova.

This year’s theme — ‘Food prices - from crisis to stability’ — focuses on creating global awareness on factors that cause food price increases, and enjoining national and local governments, the private sector, farmers’ and fishers’ groups and individuals to implement initiatives and programs to reduce the impact of steep food prices on the poor and weakest members of society.

Secretary Alcala said the DA has lined up week-long activities, commencing on October 10 (Monday) at the DA central office, featuring the agency’s program thrusts particularly on achieving food staple sufficiency.

Various DA agencies and private enterprises will also conduct product exhibits on major staples, vegetables, iron-fortified rice, livestock and dairy products and animals, and fishery products. Also lined up are technology demonstrations and seminars on aquaphonics system, urban aquaculture, and ornamental fish production. Other highlights include lectures on the production and commercialization of adlai, vermiculture, biomass, and organic fertilizers, among others.

On October 11, the DA in partnership with the Office of Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte will launch a‘Gulayan sa Paaralan’ project at Emilio Aguinaldo elementary school in Murphy, Quezon City.

The DA implements school (Gulayan sa Paaralan) and community (Gulayan sa Barangay) gardening projects nationwide — in partnership with local government units, Department of Education, congressional districts, and the private sector — to provide families and their children nutritious vegetables for home consumption and additional source of income.

“These projects will enable urban dwellers and ruralfolk cope with the high prices of commodities by growing their own food,” Alcala said.

On October 12, 16 elementary pupils from each region will compete for the top five national winners of the 2011 WFD on-the-spot poster-making contest. Winners will receive cash prizes and trophies.

On October 14, Sec. Alcala — together with Lea Salonga, FAO Representative in the Philippines Kazuyuki Tsurumi and other UN agency officials, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista and Vice-Mayor Joy Belmonte — will lead DA family and QC officials and staff, guests and other participants in a candle-lit ceremony and reading of the ‘2011 World Food Day Pledge,’ at the Liwasang Aurora, Quezon City Circle. DA Information Service

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