MANILA — The Department of Agriculture(DA) on Thursday assured that there is enough food supply despite the damages wrought by Typhoon Glenda on the agri sector.
At the same time, the DA assured that there will be no price hikes on basic food commodities, especially on rice and vegetables, in the coming days as the country had ample stocks prior to “Glenda’s” onslaught.
Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala made the assurance during a press briefing after reporting on the damages incurred by the agri sector which was initially placed at Php2.324 billion.
He said that although palay incurred Php512.7 million in damages while high value crops losses were estimated at Php481.15 million, these could be easily recovered.
“The palay planting season had just started and losses were mostly on palay that have just been recently planted. These could be immediately replaced by planting new seeds that the DA would provide to farmers who were heavily affected,” he said.
Likewise, he said that many farmers now has the capacity to easily recover from the effects of the typhoon, or any future calamity for the matter, as majority of farmers and fisherfolk in the country have availed of crop insurance.
“We have seen an 800 percent increase in the number of farmers who have availed of crop insurance coverage in the past two years. This was due to the aggressive information campaign waged by the DA,” Alcla said.
Meanwhile, Alcala said that the wide distribution of plantation areas for different farm products across the country ensures that there will be a steady supply of food when a typhoon strikes.
“It also helped that typhoons cross the Philippines cross-wise and not along its length, ensuring that damages are limited to only several regions. Those unaffected could provide whatever shortages other regions might incur,” he said.
Proof of this, he noted, is the decrease of prices of carrots, sitaw (string beans) and ampalaya (bitter gourd), among other vegetables, now prevailing in major markets in Metro Manila.
“We have also been strengthening interventions to maintain a steady supply of vegetables and other food products from the provinces to Metro Manila,” Alcala said.
Among these is helping farmers from the vegetable growing provinces north of the capital transport their products to Manila, he said.
“We would like to assure the public that DA is doing its best to keep a steady food supply and maintain the prices especially here in Metro Manila,” Alcala said.