International Year Of Family Farming 2014 Launched DAR chief’s representative delivered the opening remarks

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dar web news 2 pix 1 feb. 19 2014 400New York - The United Nations has launched the 2014 International Year of Family Farming to stress the vast potential family farmers have to play to eradicate hunger and preserve natural resources.

The launch was attended by UN officials, ambassadors to the UN, government ministers and civil society leaders who will serve as special ambassadors for the year.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva stressed the huge productive potential of family farmers.

"By choosing to celebrate this year, we recognize that family farmers are leading figures in responding to the double urgency the world faces today: improving food security and preserving the natural resources, in line with the Millennium Development Goals, with the debate on the post-2015 development agenda and the Zero Hunger Challenge," Graziano da Silva said.

Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes of the Philippines was to deliver the opening remarks but was unable to attend because he had to personally look into the needs of the victims of typhoon Haiyan, as well as the preceeding typhoons and earthquakes that the country experienced.

Speaking in behalf of Secretary De los Reyes was Minister Eduardo de Vega of the Department of Foreign Affairs-Philippines.

dar web news 2 pix 2 feb. 19 2014 400In his speech, De los Reyes thanked the international community for the overwhelming support they have shown for the victims of typhoon Haiyan. He also assured them that the Philippine government has somehow cushioned the impact of these disasters to our small-holder farmers by providing a subsidized crop insurance program and an affordable agricultural production credit program for agrarian beneficiaries.

De los Reyes also stated in his speech the Philippine government’s commitment to finish the agrarian reform program before President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s term ends in 2016.

He highlighted some of DAR’s projects and programs for farming families such as provision of farm implements, credit assistance, agricultural insurance, farm-to-market roads, irrigation and post-harvest facilities.

The DAR Secretary also reminded everyone that in this year of family farming, each country should work with the goal of amplifying the public’s mind the essential role of farming families to the well-being of the country such that every citizen is convinced that family farms must be supported.