MANILA – The Philippines will have ample supply of essential food items, particularly chicken and pork, despite the extended enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) up to April 30, a Palace official said on Tuesday.
In a virtual presser, Cabinet Secretary and Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) spokesperson Karlo Nograles said there will be a stable supply of chicken and pork until June despite African swine fever (ASF) and bird flu outbreaks.
“Sinisiguro ng Department of Agriculture (DA) na sapat ang ating bigas at essential food items tulad ng manok at baboy (The DA is making sure that we have enough rice and essential food items like chicken and pork),” he said.
Citing data from the DA, he said the country currently has 18 million metric tons (MT) of rice which could last for 84 days.
Nograles said the country also has 1.95 million MT of chicken which is good for 62 days and 1.12 million MT of pork which is enough for 10 days.
“Sa madaling salita: may pagkain po tayo at di po tayo mauubusan ng suplay sa ating mga merkado (To put it simply, we have food and we will not run out of supply in the markets),” he said.
Earlier, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said chicken supply is estimated to exceed the annual requirement of 1.3 million MT by 24 percent, equivalent to more than 400,000 MT and enough to supply the country for 157 days.
He also said there is an oversupply of pork among producers in the Visayas and Mindanao.
However, he said forecasts showed a possible deficit of around 121,000 MT by the end of the year due to a 21 percent decline in production.
Under the Food Resiliency Action Plan, Dar assured that the DA has gathered the initial commitments of its regional offices and the private sector to supply the needs of Metro Manila residents.
He said the 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 basic food items include eggs, other poultry products, fish, vegetables, fruits, sugar, cooking oil, and other coconut by-products.
Dar said the action plan will be further expanded in partnership with the private industry, local government units, and farmers’ and fishers’ groups.
He also urged the public to try engaging in food production via urban gardening or aquaculture in their respective backyards, verandas, rooftops, and designated areas in the barangay, school or community.
The IATF-EID has already approved the PHP8.5-billion fund for the Rice Resiliency Project (RRP) under the ALPAS Kontra-Covid-19 which seeks to boost the production of palay by the end of 2020 to 22.12 MMT, which is equivalent to 13.41 MMT of milled rice.
The ECQ in Luzon will lapse on April 30. (PNA)