We have enough food, don't panic: Agri chief
Agriculture Secretary William Dar called on the public not to panic as he assures sufficient food amid the implementation of "community quarantine" in Metro Manila because of the threat of 2019 coronavirus disease.
"We call on the general public to buy only their daily or weekly food requirements and refrain from overstocking or panic buying," said Dar.
"We at the Department of Agriculture will ensure the sufficient and continuous supply of basic necessities and perishable commodities, and make these available in public markets, and Kadiwa stores for the benefit of all family households, particularly in depressed communities," he added.
Dar said the current inventory of rice "at various NFA warehouses nationwide is good for at least 80 days, and it will be further augmented by the incoming palay harvest this current dry season, providing additional stocks for another two to three months."
"Together with the rice stocks held by the private sector and households, we will have a 35-week rice supply, which means this is good for at least nine months," he said.
"Further, to ensure readily available and affordable supply of other basic food commodities, we have gathered initial commitments from the private sector and DA regional offices to sufficiently supply the needs of Metro Manila residents, under our Food Resiliency Action Plan," he added.
Assistant Agriculture Secretary Noel Reyes, Department of Agriculture spokesman, said the Food Resiliency Action Plan "includes the strategic positioning and efficient distribution of basic food commodities, including the monitoring of suggested retail prices of the same in public markets in Metro Manila."
"Other than rice, the other basic food items include pork, chicken, eggs, other poultry products, fish, vegetables, fruits, sugar, cooking oil, and other coconut by-products," he said.
"The food resiliency action plan will be further expanded and updated in partnership with the private industry, local government units, and farmers' and fishers' groups," he added.
Reyes said Dar emphasized "this is also an opportune time for Metro Manilans to consider engaging in food production via urban gardening or aquaculture in their respective backyards, verandas, roof tops, and designated areas in the barangay, school or community". Robina Asido/DMS