The Philippines' First All-Opinion Website

May 25, 2018


Part 1 HERE.


“Food wastage is the biggest issue in the sector. The Food and and Agriculture Organization states that 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted globally, which is one third of the food produced for human consumption.”

This was one of the eye-opening revelations stated by then Undersecretary for the Department of Agriculture and current Secretary of the Department of Tourism Berna Romulo-Puyat at the recent World Disco Soup Day, held at Enderun Colleges.

“According to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, the average Filipino wasted two tablespoons of cooked rice or 9 grams of uncooked rice daily, which is equivalent to the consumption of 2.5 million Filipinos for a year,” she continued. “Food wastage does not only concern the amount of food that is lost, but is also related to the amount of resources wasted in producing them, including water, land, energy, labor and capital. Such wastage further contributes to global warming and climate change. Because of this, food wastage is now an issue on both the supply and demand side.”

Her talk preceded the dishes prepared by a battalion of chefs, who worked to create something out of “food waste.”  The chefs were headed by Chef Jam Melchor, Slow Food Youth Philippines head and included Chefs Robby Goco, Waya Araos-Wijangco, Jackie Laudico, Ninyo Laus, Jonas Ng, and Myke Tatung Sarthou.

Together, they converted 100 kilos of produce for meals that were served in Barangay Pinagsama.

What struck me at the end of the day was that this could actually be something that could be continued beyond World Disco Soup Day. The seed of an idea was planted, but it can be grown even further.

We have been conscious about segregating waste, but have we ever really bothered to see if the food waste could still be used further? What if the food waste could be gathered and converted into meals for hungry communities? This would take a similar effort of gathering like-minded individuals with a similar goal of eliminating hunger.


“Being a responsible consumer entails that one becomes a co producer, who goes beyond the passive role of consuming and takes interest in those who produce food, how they produce it and the circumstances they face,” Secretary Romula-Puyat concluded during her speech.

Her passion and advocacy for farmers has seen more interest for the agricultural sector in recent years. This is evident as well at the Harvest Fairs held at Central Square Mall, which has seen its seventh edition already. The most recent one, the Philippine Harvest meets Sabores de España highlighted the richness and diversity of the country’s organic, artisanal, natural, and indigenous agricultural products, with the Department of Agriculture bringing together 25 exhibitors, which included organic heirloom rice, artisanal chocolates, coffee, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol had previously stated that Philippine Harvest plays an important role in the development of export-oriented agribusiness, which is a key requirement in the Philippine government’s bid to modernize the Filipino agriculture sector.

By supporting the different “farmpreneurs,” Phiilippine Harvest Fair has provided a platform where farmers can have access to their markets, improve and innovate their products.

Our food choices can always celebrate the diversity of the selections available to us, but also support local communities and make a difference, one bite at a time for a sustainable food future for everyone.

Micahel Carolan calls for active and activist citizens—citizen-eaters. “That’s what we need, no more, no less: political participation, community action, and a willingness to be uncomfortable, as breaking from a routine is unnerving, especially when getting to know “Others” that populate foodscapes. The choice is ours: more of the same or an alternative, which is less a predetermined endpoint than an invitation to come together in order to create something different.

The seeds of change are all around us. And they’re beginning to take root and sprout.”

The next steps are ours to take. We can nurture these seeds and allow them to flourish in a healthy foodsphere, and growing for the next generations to come. The food choice lies with us.



Photos by Slow Food Manila and Marilen Fontanilla


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