DA to boost family farms, digital agri – The Manila Times

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) will harness the potential of family farms and promote digital or precision agriculture under the new normal to meet its twin objectives of reducing poverty and achieving food security, according to its chief.

“It is important that we continuously empower vulnerable groups — smallholder farmers, fisherfolk, rural women, the youth and farm families in general — by providing them the needed technical, marketing and financial support,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said during the recent virtual meeting of the 35th United Nations› (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (APRC35), hosted by Bhutan.

The meeting was attended by the ministers of agriculture, fisheries, livestock, environment and rural industries of the 46 FAO Asia-Pacific member-countries, civil society organizations and the private sector. Worldwide, the FAO has 194 member-countries.

“Now, more than ever, we should reinforce this by teaching farm families to take advantage of data-driven or digital agriculture to further increase their productivity and incomes,” said Dar, who was elected vice chairman of the ministerial conference of APRC35.

He thanked the FAO and the International Fund for Agricultural Development for leading the implementation of the UN Decade of Family Farming 2019 to 2028.

“[S]mallholders and family farmers deserve the focus in FAO discussions and programs, as they produce over 80 percent of the world’s food in value terms, and play a vital role in achieving food security and improving nutrition,” Dar said.

“We are grateful to all partners and stakeholders actively advocating for family farmers’ welfare and interests and their critical role in achieving the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.

The UNDFF is an offshoot of a UN policy declaring 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF).

In 2011, the Philippines filed the IYFF resolution before the FAO, which endorsed it to the UN general assembly. With the Philippines as co-sponsor, the Decade of Family Farming was officially declared by the UN in 2017.

The UNDFF recognizes and supports the major contribution of family and smallholder farming in eradicating poverty and hunger, achieving food security, and improving nutrition through sustainable food production and countryside development.

“In terms of precision agriculture and digital technology, the DA is fast-tracking the development of a digital roadmap for the agri-fishery sector. We aim to integrate digital technologies in the food value chain and logistics, benefiting both producers and consumers,” Dar said.

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