World Food Day Celebration highlights role of agricultural cooperatives in ending hunger

The Department of Agriculture (DA) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), affirms its support in eradicating hunger worldwide through achieving its mandate of increasing productivity and income of farmers and fisherfolks.

This was emphasized by assistant secretary for Fisheries/Agribusiness Marketing Salvador Salacup in his message during the opening ceremony of the 2012 World Food Day celebration at the Department of Agriculture’s Central Office in Diliman, Quezon City.

The event which ran from October 15-18 was part of the annual observation of World Food Day in commemoration of the founding anniversary of the FAO, organized 67 years ago.

The event adopted the theme, “Agricultural Cooperatives: Key to Feeding the World”, highlighting the role of cooperatives in improving food security and its contribution in ending hunger.

“The implementation of our agricultural programs is more efficiently handled by our stakeholders who are most especially part of cooperatives. Through that, we build unity, gain strength and achieve efficiency of deliverables to attain our mandate of food security, food affordability, and nutritious food,” Asec.Salacup said.

“If we have a good plan and sound roadmap of all agricultural commodities, then the implementation becomes easy,” he added.

Asec. Salacup served as the chairperson of the national steering committee for the said celebration.

The weeklong celebration started with the ribbon-cutting of its product exhibit at the DA-OS lobby. The ceremony was led by agriculture secretary Proceso Alcala, joined by FAO representative Kazuyuki Tsurumi and ASec. Salacup.

A photo-essay exhibit of DA-assisted farmers’ groups and cooperatives and national commodity programs were also featured.

As part of the WFD celebration, the opening day of its mini-tiangge where partner-farmers’ cooperatives can showcase and sell their respective products was also initiated. The tiangge runs until October 18.

The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) was one of the product exhibitors. It featured dairy products from the Nueva Ecija Federation of Dairy Carabao Cooperatives (NEFEDCCO) and from its other partner cooperatives.

An on-the-spot poster making contest that depicted this year’s theme commenced on the second day of the celebration at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) in Quezon City. Seventeen regional winners participated in the event.

The winners will be presented during the culminating program on October 18 at 4 to 6 pm. The ceremonies will be held at Liwasang Aurora, Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City.

Along with the WFD celebration, the DA also spearheaded the celebration of the International World Rural Women’s day in partnership with the Philippine Commission of Women and other institutions.

The conduct of the search for the outstanding rural women has been the highlight of the celebration since 2003. The winners will be honored during the WFD culminating program.

Alcala will be joined by FAO representative Tsurumi and Luiza Carvalho, UN resident coordinator and United Nations Development Programme resident representative.

KC Concepcion was invited to give an inspirational message. She serves as the Philippine’s Ambassador Against Hunger of the United Nation’s World Food Programme’.

The program will be capped with a candle lighting ceremony and reading of the 2012 World Food Day Pledge and fireworks.