By Adora Rodriguez, DA-AFID
Agriculture Secretary William Dar continues to encourage local chief executives (LCEs) to buy from farmers and fishers their products — vegetables, fruits, chicken, hogs, and fish, among others — and include these in relief food packs distributed to constituents.
“By doing so, we help our farmers and fishers earn and make a decent living amid the challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Secretary Dar, who previously asked the LCEs to consider the said initiative in mid-March, when President Rodrigo Duterte imposed the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
“As the ECQ initially posed difficulty on the movement of food cargoes and other agri-fishery commodities, we deemed it necessary to encourage our provincial governors, and city and municipal mayors to buy the harvests of farmers to prevent wastage,” he added.
“Their products should form part of the food packs they distribute to their citizens. Hence, they help not only their farmers, but also supply their constituents with healthy and nutritious food,” the DA chief said.
He expressed his gratitude and appreciation to several LCEs who heeded and responded to his request.
“Marami po ang tumugon kaya ramdam ng ating mga magsasaka sa kanayunan ang tulong ng pamahalaan sa panahon ng Covid-19. Nakakatuwa kasi nandyan talaga ang bayanihan,” he added.
For instance, the provincial government of Iloilo bought P17.9-million worth of vegetables, eggs, dried seafood, and other basic food items, while Antique purchased a total of P2.3-million worth of vegetables.
“We sincerely thank Governors Arthur Defensor of Iloilo and Rhoda Cadiao of Antique for supporting not only their farmers but also providing their constituents healthy food items,” Secretary Dar said.
In Laguna, more LGUs are buying farmers’ harvest to include in the relief packs being distributed to residents.
The municipal government of Cabuyao, in particular, bought a substantial amount of vegetables from their farmers.
The city government of Calamba also procured vegetables which they gave to jail inmates, while the Cavinti municipal government distributed vegetables and eggs to their medical frontliners.
In Davao, the city government led by Mayor Sara Duterte also bought various farmers’ products and distributed them to Davaoeños affected by the quarantine.
“Sa kanilang lahat, maraming salamat po,” said Dar.
“We enjoin other LCEs to do the same so we can ensure food security for all and extend much-needed support to our farmers and fishers by providing them a ready market for their produce,” he added.
“More importantly, we provide our citizens with healthy and nutritious food to keep them healthy and strong, enhancing their immune system against the dreaded Covid-19,” the DA chief said.