MANILA – Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar on Thursday assured the public that the country has adequate supplies of food, including rice, until June amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
During a virtual presser of the Food Security Task Force, Dar said the country has rice stocks sufficient to last for 84 days.
Dar noted that the projected ending stock in June 2020 is good for 111 days for chicken, 12 days for fish, and eight days for pork.
The supply outlook for other crops, on the other hand, is seen to last until 147 days for corn, 28 days for vegetables, and 21 days for garlic and onion.
Dar said aside from ensuring food sufficiency during the Covid-19 emergency, the DA would also provide adequate support to boost local food production.
“Nais po namin siguruhin na meron tayong sapat na suplay ng pagkain at itaas pa ang produksyon ng mga ito, kabilang ang bigas, karne, isda at gulay (We want to ensure that we have sufficient supply of food and we want to increase the production of these major staples, including rice, meat, fish, and vegetables),” Dar said.
“Para mapalakas pa ang local production makakaasa po ng mga ayuda at programa sa sektor ng sakahan at pangisdaan (To strengthen local production, assistance and program for the agriculture and fisheries sector are in place),” he added.
Under the government’s social amelioration program, the DA will distribute PHP5,000-cash subsidy to 600,000 rice farmers to help augment their needs amid the enhanced community quarantine.
Dar said that 40 percent of the target for the financial subsidy for rice farmers, or around 234,586 beneficiaries, are ready to receive their payout.
The PHP5,000-cash subsidy is part of the DA’s initiatives to assist small rice farmers, who plant one hectare or less, located in 24 provinces not covered by the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) program.
Meanwhile, under the RFFA, 597,505 beneficiaries will receive unconditional cash transfer worth PHP5,000. (PNA)