MANILA — Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala assured Monday that supplies of chicken, vegetables and other basic food items in Metro Manila and other areas affected by typhoon Ruby (international name: Hagupit) remains strong and stable, even as the DA reported that proactive government measures had kept damage to the farm-fishery sector “minimal” thus far.
In a press briefing held at the DA main office in Quezon City, Alcala said the private sector have already completed the needed importation of chicken two months ago in anticipation of losses due to typhoons and the huge Christmas season demand.
“We assure the public that there will be no shortage of food supply, especially poultry products, since we have already imported needed supplies in anticipation of coming typhoons like Ruby,” he said.
The DA chief added he saw no reason for supply disruption and increases in the prices of vegetables considering that key production areas of Benguet and Nueva Vizcaya are spared from the typhoon’s wrath.
Benguet alone accounts for nearly three-fourths of Metro Manila’s supply of beans, carrots, cabbage and other semi-temperate vegetables.
“Benguet and Nueva Vizcaya are safe and maintain continuous production. In Quezon province, where I visited yesterday (Sunday), transactions were vigorous at the Sariaya trading center. So we do not see any reason for any disruption in vegetable supply,” he said.
As to fish, he said a temporary tightness in supply could occur in the first two days of the typhoon’s devastation since fishermen would not be able to venture out into the sea.
In the meantime, Agriculture officials expect Typhoon Ruby to inflict minimal damage and losses to the farm and fishery sector, thanks to the proactive measures carried out by the DA.
Among them are the encouraging of farmers for the quick harvest of mature crops and the delivery of timely warnings to fishermen about rough sea conditions to prevent mishaps.
It also helped that majority of the areas planted to rice and corn had been harvested before the typhoon struck, DA officials said.
Likewise, DA’s regional field offices are now positioning seeds in areas that will be affected by the typhoon for emergency replanting.
Based on DA’s partial report released Monday afternoon, the typhoon destroyed Php1.02 billion worth of crops, fishery products and infrastructure in Bicol, Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas alone.
However, the report pointed out that the estimated production losses in rice at 48,054 metric tons, and corn at 7,550 MT only represented only 1.12 percent and 0.33 percent respectively of the total predicted national output in the first quarter of 2015.