AMPLE RICE SUPPLY ASSURED
Agriculture Secretary William Dar has assured that the country will have a year-end stock good for 89 days of rice, the main staple, as well as sufficient supply of basic food commodities.
Dar made the projection based on mid-July estimates that the agency churned out in view of the Covid 19 pandemic.
“Despite the pandemic and the imposed community quarantine since mid-March, the Philippines continues to be food-secure with sufficient supply of basic food commodities,“ Dar said.
“Thus, we assure fellow Filipinos that we will have enough food on our table by the end of the year and onto the first quarter of 2021,” he added.
In fact, palay production during the second quarter of the year increased by 6.85 percent (%) compared to the same three-month period last year, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The increment was due to the increase in harvest area by 4.5% percent to 960,000 hectares, while average palay harvest per hectare climbed up to 4.31 metric tons (MT), versus the previous year’s 4.21 MT, the PSA said.
For other major food commodities, the supply outlook by the end of the year is likewise favorable: for corn – good for 237 days; chicken – good for 182 days; and vegetables – good for 20 days.
“Given this favorable outlook, we will continue to implement our umbrella program, called ‘Plant, Plant, Plant,’ to further boost the production of major food commodities, led by rice and other major crops, aquaculture and fish, poultry and livestock animals,” said Dar.
“Likewise, we will vigorously assist our farmers, fishers and other ruralfolk to enable them to survive and recover from the momentary setback due to the pandemic,” he added.
“We are elevating our game guided by the policy shifts in our food security framework to reboot and grow the country’s agriculture and fishery sector onto the new normal,” Dar said.
He said “to sustainably feed the country’s growing population in the new normal, we must increase the sufficiency levels of basic food and other commodities, by prioritizing domestic production.”
To attain this, he said the DA will harmonize the food supply chain systems with other related sectors such as the economy, energy, water, environment, manufacturing, and health, and at the same time build resilience.
“We will also adopt context-specific policies, as we recognize the differences between urban and rural settings, and address specific needs,” he added.