Cooperation, not isolation, is the way to go | Inquirer Business
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Cooperation, not isolation, is the way to go

/ 02:30 AM October 23, 2022
The Food and Agriculture Organization calls for better production, better nutrition, better environment and better life

WORLD FOOD DAY The Food and Agriculture Organization calls for better production, better nutrition, better environment and better life —POSTER OF THE FAO

A few days ago, someone said that Korean dramas and other foreign-made films and TV shows should be banned in the Philippines in a bid to boost Filipino-made shows.

This mentality is so outdated you wonder where someone can even get ideas like this in this day and age. It’s the mentality of a cheater who will injure the other horse in order to make his weak horse win. It’s the mentality of a loser. You don’t need to bring others down to lift yourself up.

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In this day and age of globalization, the solution is to increase your competitiveness, not to shut out the world or ban better products because of your insecurities. The same applies to agriculture. The same applies to restaurants. The same applies to food.

The solution is to be better

Even Pope Francis himself, in his message on World Food Day celebrated last Sunday, agreed that this is the solution. His Holiness underscored the battlecry of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in addressing world hunger: Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment and a Better Life—the theme of World Food Day 2022. He called them the “Four Betters.”

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World Food Day is a FAO/United Nations event celebrated in more than 150 countries worldwide to discuss policies and processes toward ensuring food security.

In his addressed letter to Qu Dongyu, director general of FAO, the Pope also stressed the importance of the FAO’s Strategic Framework 2022-2031 and highlighted “the need for interventions to be planned and programmed so that they contribute to the total eradication of hunger and malnutrition and are not simply the response to circumstantial shortfalls or emergency appeals.”

Instead of shutting doors, Pope Francis emphasized mutual cooperation.

He said, “I reiterate once more the commitment of the Holy See and the Catholic Church to walk alongside the FAO and other inter-governmental organizations working for the poor, putting fraternity, harmony and mutual collaboration first, in order to discover prospects that will bring genuine benefit to the world, not only today, but also for generations to come.”

Instead of bitterness, or banning others, he said the solution is international cooperation. “… the goals set are ambitious and may seem unattainable. How can we achieve them? First of all, by not losing sight of the fact that at the heart of any strategy are the people … Also, by introducing ‘the category of love’ into the language of international cooperation, to clothe international relations with humanity and solidarity, in pursuit of the common good.”

Think long term

While countries around the world battle the effects of inflation, including hunger, we remember that the solutions must not only be short term but long term. On top of short-term solutions such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or other ayuda, we need to also be committed to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

There are 17 goals: (1) no poverty; (2) zero hunger; (3) good health and well-being; (4) quality education; (5) gender equality; (6) clean water and sanitation; (7) affordable and clean energy; (8) decent work and economic growth; (9) industry, innovation and infrastructure; (10) reduced inequalities; (11) sustainable cities and communities; (12) responsible consumption and production; (13) climate action; (14) life below water; (15) life on land; (16) peace, justice and strong institutions, and (17) partnerships for the goals.

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The President himself has said repeatedly that the Philippines is committed to sustainable development. To improve Philippine agriculture, P5.9 billion has been apportioned for the construction of agricultural facilities and the procurement of machineries under the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Program; P1.4 billion provided to intensify research and development in the agriculture, aquatic and natural resources sector; and P1.7 billion provided for the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, among others.

In sync with the objectives of World Food Day and the Sustainable Development Goals to end hunger in our country and ultimately help end hunger in the world, let’s work hard to improve local production while keeping our doors open—whether it be in agriculture or entertainment.

Be better, not bitter. K?

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