Farmers’ market stalls are set to open across the country in early April as part of a pilot program aimed at stabilizing the economy amid food shortages.
The Agriculture Adjustment Administration (AAA) said that it will open 15 farmers’ markets in cities and towns in Mindanao, Bulacan, and Lanao del Norte in the southern Philippines beginning April 15.
“This pilot program is intended to provide farmers with a viable option to participate in a more sustainable food supply system and help alleviate their hardship,” the agency said in a statement on its website.
Agriculture Adjustment Authority (AAA), in a separate statement, said it is also inviting the public to visit its farmers’ market sites to buy produce from its farmers.
In an effort to alleviate the food shortages, the Philippines has been relying on imports, including corn, rice, beans, and meat.
As of April 12, there were 4.2 million people living in poverty in the country, the highest in the world, according to the United Nations World Food Programme.
The Philippines is currently facing the worst food shortages in the Western Hemisphere and is expected to lose about 7 percent of its agricultural output over the next five years due to the drought.
The country has been importing food from China, which accounts for half of its imports.