To ensure that there will be stable supply of affordable food for Metro Manila, the Department of Agriculture (DA) will implement a “Food Resiliency Action Plan.”
“The plan features the weekly requirement or demand of Metro Manila for basic food commodities and where these would come from,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
During a media briefing at the DA Central Office on March 13, the Secretary explained that the weekly rice requirement of Metro Manila for instance — with an estimated population of 13.9 million, as per PSA — is at 26,241 metric tons (MT).
“We have more than enough stocks to meet this demand. In fact, we have a comfortable 35-week supply of rice, which will be further augmented by the dry season harvest, starting this month up to April,” the DA chief said.
For vegetables and root crops, Metro Manila has a total demand of 5,000 MT per week, but farmers in Northern and Central Luzon could harvest and supply up to 17,000 MT a week, which is more than enough to satisfy the demand for three weeks. For poultry and meat products, Metro Manilans consume a total of 7,934 MT a week, while poultry and livestock raisers can supply up to 11,074 MT a week, leaving an excess of more than 3,140 MT.
For table eggs, the entire metropolis consume 25 million (M) pieces weekly, which is amply covered as supply amounts to 42.5 M pieces. For fish, the estimated weekly requirement is 8,000 MT, while supply reaches up to 10,264 MT, coming from Regions 1, 3 and 4-B.
“As you can see, there is enough food for everyone in Metro Manila. So, there is no reason to hoard or buy more than we need,” Dar reiterated.
Dar further explained that the food resiliency action plan is anchored on the DA’s mandate to ensure food security for the country, in this case Metro Manila, in the midst of restricted movement imposed due to Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Rest assured that major food items will be made available in areas where movement is restricted. We will ensure this in close partnership with the local government units,” he said.
He added that the “KADIWA ni Ani at Kita” stores will remain as one of the key DA strategies to ensure that Metro Manila residents can buy affordable basic food items.
In line with the pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte on March 12, the DA chief clarified that the transport of basic food items — including seeds, planting materials, farm inputs and equipment, livestock and poultry supplies and biologics — will continue and will not be impeded to allow continuous supply of food into Metro Manila, and delivery of other goods outside the metropolis.
Similarly, Dar added that the movement of cargoes to and from Metro Manila, or in such other places which may be the subject of a community quarantine, shall be unhampered.
Finally, he said the current suggested retail price or SRP will continue to be imposed and other food items will be added in the list, if needed. The SRP policy covers nine basic food items sold in public markets. Their respective prices per kilo are: • Pork (pigue/kasim) – P190; • Chicken (whole, dressed) – P130; • Sugar (raw, brown) – P45; (refined) – P50; • Bangus (cage-cultured) – P162; • Tilapia (pond-cultured) – P120; • Galunggong (imported) – P130; • Garlic (imported) – P70; • Garlic (local) – P120; and • Red onion (fresh) – P95. ###