MANILA, Oct 22 (Mabuhay) — President Ferdinand R. Marcos on Friday took into consideration the suggestions of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) to attain food security.

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President Ferdinand R. Marcos meets with the agriculture cluster of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) to discuss his administration’s agriculture priorities, specifically measures to ensure food security in the country, in Malacanang. (MNS photo)

In a Facebook post, the Office of the President (OP) said Marcos met with the PSAC at Malacañang Palace in Manila.

Agriculture cluster of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) in Malacanang. (MNS photo)

“President Ferdinand R. Marcos, who is also the Department of Agriculture (DA) chief, discussed his administration’s agriculture priorities with the Private Sector Advisory Council today,” the OP said.

PSAC advised Marcos to go digital in promoting the agriculture sector, on top of a proposal to adopt practices that would help improve supply chain management.

“PBBM received recommendations from the PSAC on digital farming methods and supply chain improvement strategies to ensure food security,” it said.

Marcos and the PSAC also conducted a review of the National Food Authority’s existing policies, including a proposal to enable the agency to operate as a logistics hub, the OP said.

In another statement, Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil of the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS), said Marcos also sought the institutionalization of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) digital platform Sarai, in a bid to provide agricultural stakeholders with site-specific crop advisories based on data gathered from Diwata micro-satellite.

“Through the DOST program, farmers and fishermen will be able to access real-time and updated information on farm conditions, including weather outlook, drought and flooding forecasting, disease detection and infestation,” read the statement from Garafil, OPS Officer-in-Charge.

Marcos likewise ordered the acceleration of replanting of coconut trees, distribution of seedings, and intercropping for better land use; strict implementation of measures intended to control the African swine fever, including the ban on entry of live pig and pork products from Panay and Guimaras Islands for 60 days; and review of the Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide (ASIN) to revive salt farming as an additional livelihood for fisherfolk to augment their income, Garafil said.

The ASIN Law, or Republic Act 8172, is the requirement of the addition of iodine to salt intended for animal and human consumption, in an effort to eradicate micronutrient malnutrition in the country.

In June when he announced that will head the DA, Marcos said he will put “high priority” on the agriculture sector.

Marcos vowed that as DA chief, he would prioritize increasing rice production and re-organizing the agriculture department.

At the 48th Philippine Business Conference and Exposition of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Manila Hotel on Thursday, the President said in a chance interview that he would continue to lead the DA, despite calls for him to appoint a full-time secretary.

Marcos said the agricultural problems are “very deeply embedded”, requiring the country’s highest leader to “change and turn it around.”

Around 63 percent of 1,500 adult Filipinos approved of Marcos’ decision to take on the DA portfolio, based on the results of PUBLiCUS Asia’s Pahayag 2022 Quarterly Survey conducted on September 16 to 20. (MNS)