Over half of Filipino households experienced food insecurity amid pandemic — poll

A government poll revealed that more than half of Filipino households had experienced moderate to severe food insecurity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Rapid Nutrition Assessment Survey conducted from Nov. 3 to Dec. 3 last year, 62.1% families experienced having little to no food. The survey was conducted by the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Research Nutrition Institute (DOST-FNRI).

Of the 5,717 households involved in the survey, almost 72% were forced to borrow money just to get food, while 66.3% asked for food from their relatives, neighbors, and friends.

The survey said 30.2% swapped their possessions for food while 21.1% adults reduced their food intake to be able to feed their children more.

Food insecurity was highest in the second half of 2020.

The survey said 56.3% of survey respondents reported having a problem accessing food during the community quarantine period due to the lack of money (22.1%), limited public transportation (21.6%), the loss of livelihood (19.5%), and limited food stores (10.8%). It added that 5.1% of the respondents were seniors who had no other family members to buy food for them.

Food insecurity was mostly felt in households with children (74.7%) and pregnant members (80.8%), the report said.

It said the impact of food insecurity was higher in areas at low and moderate COVID-19 risk levels, noting that high risk areas were located in highly urbanized cities where food availability and accessibility “might be easier.”

The DOST-FNRI said government services and benefits “must be decentralized from highly urbanized cities and extended equitably to provinces with less resources and minimal or no benefactors.” —  Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza