The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the request of the Department of Agriculture (DA) for a P31-billion supplemental budget to fund the ‘Plant, Plant, Plant Program’ or Agri 4Ps to increase the country’s food adequacy level during the emergency situation resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We thank the IATF-MEID, led by Cabinet secretary Karlo Nograles for approving our P31-billion supplemental budget to bankroll a national Plant, Plant, Plant Program during our teleconference on March 27,” said agriculture secretary William Dar.

“It was among the several recommendations approved by the Task Force that include unhampered transport of all farm and fishery products, and supplies used for farming and fishing, including food packaging and manufacturing materials,” the DA chief added.

The DA’s P31-billion supplemental budget will be endorsed by the IATF-EID to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for his consideration and approval, said secretary Dar, adding that the Plant, Plant, Plant Program is also called ‘Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra sa COVID-19.’

The budget includes:

• P7.5B – rice resiliency project;

• P7B – palay procurement fund of the National Food Authority;

• P3B – expanded SURE Aid and recovery project;

• P3B – expanded agriculture insurance project;

• P3B – social amelioration for farmers and farm workers;

• P1B – upscaling of KADIWA ni Ani at Kita;

• P1B – integrated livestock and corn resiliency project;

• P1B – expanded small ruminants and poultry project;

• P1B – coconut-based diversification project;

• P1B – fisheries resiliency project;

• P1B – revitalized gulayan project;

• P500M – urban agriculture project;

• P500M – acquisition of protective personal equipment;

• P300M – corn for food project; and

• P200M – information, education and communications project.

“The Task Force also reiterated that farmers, fishers, and workers in agri-fishery production, processing and manufacturing enterprises, including those involved in the entire food value chain are exempted from the curfew imposed in observance of the enhanced community quarantine,” said secretary Dar.

The IATF-EID also approved the reactivation of the Local Price Coordination Councils or LPCCs to monitor food supply and prices, and help implement the suggested retail price (SRP) scheme, issue warning, and apprehend violators. The reactivation of LPCCs is aimed to forestall the excessive and unreasonable price spikes of agri-fishery commodities, processed products and medicines.

“Our aim is to protect consumers against undue price spikes as the nation is under a state of emergency due to the spread of the novel corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” the DA chief added.

“In all, we have enough food for the next two months. We are enhancing needed measures to ensure food security in strong cooperation with all sectors, most particularly with all provincial governors, city and municipal mayors, and barangay leaders in ensuring the unhampered transport of agricultural products and farm and fishery inputs, including movement of farmers, fishers, and workers in the food value chain,” the DA chief concluded.

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