Philippines has enough food as ECQ is extended till May 15: Dar
Agriculture Secretary William Dar assures that the country has enough food supply despite the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until May 15.
"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," Dar 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,” he added.
During the meeting of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) with Duterte on April 23, 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 two days; vegetables - good for six days; and chicken - good for 253 days," said Dar.
“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 added.
Earlier, the Department of Agriculture also reported that the country's meat supply amid the COVID-19 pandemic is steady.
Commercial hog raisers said there is an oversupply, particularly in Visayas and Mindanao, adding that cold storage facilities are brimming and there may be no need to import.
Dar also reported to Duterte and the IATF that food supply is more than enough for this year and into 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," he said.
Dar said despite the surplus in projections in food supply, "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 a business-as-usual thinking. We need to conquer the threat of hunger with innovations coupled with actions," Dar said. Robina Asido/DMS