MANILA - The Department of Agriculture (DA) said Saturday it would not allow perfectly good vegetables go to waste as it would help farmers sell their produce amid the ongoing enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, which has confined people in their homes.
Secretary William Dar said he has tasked his regional directors to deploy trucks and facilitate the transportation of vegetables to the Philippine capital region following reports that some farmers had to dispose their produce due to a surplus and lack of buyers.
"Kami na ang magdadala sa Metro Manila... Kapag naibenta, kami na ang magbabayad sa kanila," he told radio DZMM.
(We will bring their produce to Metro Manila... If these are sold, we will pay them.)
Some Cordillera farmers recently had to dispose a truckload of carrots after failing to sell their harvest at the La Trinidad Trading Post in Benguet due to low demand.
The agency will also coordinate with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and local government units (LGUs) to buy the farmers' harvest, which will be distributed to families affected by the lockdown, Dar said.
"Sila na ang bibili sa food supply na ilalagay sa food packs for distribution sa constituents nila," he added.
(They will buy the food supply, which will be included in the food packs that will be distributed to their constituents.)
To expand local food production, the agency will also implement the "Plant, Plant, Plant" program amid concerns global supplies will tighten due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dar said.
The agency will distribute to farmers and LGUs seeds of vegetables that can be harvested in a month's time.
Dar also assured the public the country has sufficient amount of rice, vegetables, fruits and fish products.
In particular, by the end of first semester, the country's rice inventory is still good for 67 days, he said.
"No need to panic. Huwag lang nating pabayaan ma-restrict ang movement ng food supplies (Let's just not restrict movement of food supplies). Let me assure the public, we have enough food," Dar said.