Experts: Science to answer RP’s food, nutrition issues
By Izah Morales INQUIRER.net CEBU, Philippines -- The growing number of the population, the rise in food prices and the increase in cost of global fuel can affect food and nutrition in Asia, Assistant Secretary Maria Bernardita Flores of the National Nutrition Council of the Department of Health said during a symposium on biotechnology and nutritionally enhanced food and crops during the 5th Asian Conference on Food and Nutrition Safety here. In the Philippines, government hunger mitigation programs like the “Food for the School” program and “Tindahan Natin” are existing efforts to address the problem of food security, Flores said. "'Yung food for school program aims to address hunger among the families but the delivery is through the child who is in school while the Tindahan Natin, run by National Food Authority and Department of Social Welfare and Development offer rice at reduced prices [The food for school program aims to address hunger among the families but the delivery is through the child who is in school while the Tindahan Natin, run by NFA and DSWD offer rice at reduced prices.]," Flores said. Flores recommended the development of a conceptual framework for understanding hunger and malnutrition; establishment of surveillance and monitoring systems; strengthening of food production; scaling up of effective nutrition intervention programs; and formulatation of policies supportive of food and nutrition security. She also stressed that food and nutrition program should prioritize the needy. Flores said the Department of Health has launched a multimedia campaign that aims to lessen local consumption of rice and promote rice substitutes, such as root crops. Rene Burt Llanto of Department of Science and Technology Region VII, for his part, said the agency is planning to create food safety teams in all regions next year to help food processing and food service industries meet the requirements of government agencies like the Bureau of Food and Drugs. "The demand now for food safety measures is increasing among hotels and other food companies," added Llanto. Meanwhile, Dr. Christopher Leaver of the University of Oxford suggested that investments should be placed on science and technology to increase agricultural efficiency while attempting to reverse the impact of climate change on economies worldwide. "Through the partnership of International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) and Food and Nutrition Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), we will put up a convergence of experts, one way by which we can enrich the capacity of our local scientists on current issue of food and nutrition safety, " added Dr. Mario Capanzana, FNRI-DOST director.
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