'Enough food for everyone' during Metro Manila quarantine, says agri chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2020 02:47 PM

MANILA -- Metro Manila has enough basic food supplies to last the entire 1-month long quarantine for COVID-19, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said Friday.

The region's rice inventory is good for 35 weeks or at least 9 months, Dar said, as officials laid out guidelines for the community quarantine, which will start on Sunday.

The April harvest season will "augment" the current inventory of the National Food Authority, he said. Metro Manila needs at least 26,241 metric tons of rice per week, he said.

"The Department of Agriculture assures all Filipino families that there is enough food for everyone," Dar said.

Vegetables and root crops from Cordillera, Benguet, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and Southern Luzon, estimated at 17,000 MT "are more than enough" to meet the 5,000 MT weekly demand, he said. 

Poultry and meat supply of 11,074 MT per week is enough to meet the 7,934 MT demand, he said. Fish demand is at 8,000 MT while supply is at 10,274 weekly, Dar said. 

Some 42.5 million pieces of eggs are delivered to the capital every week, more than the 25 million demand, he said. 

"Again, reiterating our call to the public, don’t hoard too much food. There is enough food supply that you can buy during this time of health emergency," Dar said.

The DA will also release a "food resiliency action plan" to identify requirements for basic commodity for specific areas and to identify timely sourcing, he said. 

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez earlier appealed to the public to refrain from "panic buying" to avoid artificial shortage. Lopez assured that the quarantine won't hamper the flow of goods.