Agriculture Secretary Dar allays fears of food shortage
MANILA - Agriculture Secretary William D. DAR said Metro Manila consumers are assured of enough food at affordable prices and called for a halt to panic-buying after President Rodrigo Duterte place the metropolitan area under “community quarantine.”
In a press briefing before midday today, Secretary Dar said as the country confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, they will make sure there will be sufficient and continuous supply of basic food commodities in public markets of all family households, specially in depressed areas.
“For our basic staple, rice, in our current inventory stored at various NFA warehouses nationwide is good for at least 80 days. And this will be further augmented by the current harvest this dry season, providing additional stocks for another two to three more months,” Dr. Dar told the media.
He added with the rice stocks held by the private sector and households, we will have a 35-week rice supply which will last for at least nine months.
Initial commitments have been gathered from the private sector as well as the regional offices to sufficiently supply the needs of Metro Manila residents estimated at 13.9 million.
Other than rice, basic commodities include pork, chicken, eggs, other poultry products, fish vegetables, fruits, sugar and cooking oil.
He said the Suggested Retail Price (SRP) will be observed alongside with strategic positioning and efficient distribution of basic food commodities.
The food resilience action plan will be further expanded in partnership with the private industry, local government units and farmers’ and fishers’ groups.
He also encouraged Metro Manila residents to consider urban gardening or aquaculture in their backyards, verandas, roof tops and designated areas in their respective communities. (Melo M. Acuna)
Agriculture Secretary William Dollente Dar (center) speaking before media practitioners shortly before midday today. (Melo M. Acuna)