By Myriam Layaoen, DA StratComms
Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar reassures all Filipino families that the country has enough food supply.
“We made the assurance during last night’s meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, after he formally extended the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and other regions in Luzon,” the DA chief said.
“As we have been reporting since the start of the COVID-19, our inventory for basic food commodities shows we have more than enough supply this year. We always reiterate this to avoid panic among our citizens,” Secretary Dar said.
In a meeting of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) with President Duterte, on April 23, Secretary Dar presented the food supply outlook for 2020 with most commodities ending with a surplus at year-end.
“At the end of December, we have rice supply good for 94 days; corn – good for 234 days; fish – good for 2 days; vegetables – good for 6 days; and chicken – good for 253 days,” he enumerated.
“As we will experience some contraction in pork supply of around 43 days, we encourage consumers to shift to other alternative sources of protein like chicken, ducks, eggs, and processed meat products,” he said.
The DA earlier reported that the country’s meat supply remains stable amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
For their part, commercial hog raisers said there is actually an oversupply at the moment, particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao, adding that cold storage facilities are brimming with pork, and there may even be no need to import this year.
Secretary Dar reported to President Duterte and IATF that the country’s food supply is more than enough for the entire 2020 and onto next year.
“Like any other food commodity, we just need to bring the supply from the source to the areas where they are needed most. That is what we are doing now, and we remain hopeful for better projections in the coming days as we also implement projects to boost local production, under our Plant, Plant, Plant Program or the Ahon Lahat, Pagkain Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra COVID-19.
It aims to intensify the production of agri-fishery commodities to elevate the country’s food adequacy level. Its rice resiliency project is now ready to roll out by providing farmers support on production inputs like free seeds and fertilizers.
Despite the surplus in projections on food supply, Secretary Dar said the DA will continue to work harder in sustaining food security under the “new normal” in agriculture.
“The world is currently facing a tremendous challenge. We should not relax with business-as-usual thinking. We need to conquer the threat of hunger with innovations coupled with actions,” Dar concluded.