Agri chief: Still plenty of food in PH; Filipinos should avoid panic buying


Posted at Apr 17 2020 09:52 PM

MANILA - Filipinos shouldn't worry about food supply amid the ongoing lockdown in places throughout the Philippines as there is plenty of food to go around, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said Friday.

Dar said in an interview that the Philippines' supply of food is "still enough" for its citizens, saying the country currently has an inventory of food "good for 2 months."

He added the Philippines' rice stocks will be "overflowing" by the end of the first semester of harvest, which was from December 2019 to April 2020.

"Ngayon nag-aani pa. Sa end of first semester, ay sobrang sobra po ang rice inventory. So wala dapat ipangamba ang bayan at kapwang kong Pilipino," Dar told radio DZMM.

(We're still harvesting. By the end of first semester, our rice inventory will be excessive. So the country and my fellow Filipinos don't have a cause for worrying.)

"Wag lang tayong mag panic buying. Sapat po ang pagkain natin," he added.

(We just have to avoid panic buying. We have enough food.)

Dar said rice stocks imported to the Philippines last December boosted the country's inventory for emergency cases, such as the COVID-19 pandemic currently being experienced worldwide.

Vietnam contributed 91 percent of the rice imports, he added.

Earlier, the Philippine trade chief said the supply of food and essentials in the country was "stable".

Many manufacturers are operating at 80 to 90 percent of capacity, which means that they have a 45-day inventory of raw materials and there are no problems with cargo, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said. 

However, the heads of three global agencies had warned of a potential worldwide food shortage if authorities fail to manage the ongoing coronavirus crisis properly.

--With a report from Isabel Malsang, Agence France Presse