MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) assured the public that Metro Manila has enough food to supply its population on the duration of the community quarantine imposed from March 15 to April 14 due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
This is why Agriculture Secretary William Dar is appealing to Metro Manila residents not to overstock on food items.
“Don’t hoard too much food,” Dar said.
“There is enough food supply that you can buy during this time of health emergency,” he assured.
Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of placing Metro Manila under community quarantine, shoppers crowd almost all grocery and convenience stores to stock food items amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
Dar said he already directed all Regional Offices across the country to position their supply in case any area in Metro Manila will need additional food products while the community quarantine is in effect.
The Agriculture Secretary said he emphasized that there should be no delays in delivery of goods to any destination in Metro Manila where the supply is needed since food transport is still allowed like vegetables coming from Benguet.
Dar stressed Metro Manila has enough supply of basic food needs like rice.
In fact, the Department’s buffer stock is enough up to nine months of consumption.
Likewise, the country has more than enough supply of fish, meat, vegetables, egg and sugar.
Aside from the nine items mentioned, the DA is planning to impose suggested retail prices (SRP) on other commodities that the public commonly consumes.
“Nakikiusap kami sa lahat ng traders huwag ding magsamantala at this point in time, (We ask traders not to take advantage at this point time,)” Dar said.
Meanwhile, the DA is scouting for other countries that can be potential suppliers of basic spices like garlic.
Almost 90% of the Philippines’ supply of garlic comes from China, the biggest among the country’s garlic supplier but the hardest-hit among countries affected by COVID-19. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)