Agriculture Secretary William Dar asked consumers over the weekend to avoid panic-buying as the country has enough food supply.
“Buying more food than what we require deprives others, thus causing an artificial shortage and price spikes. Our inventory for basic food commodities, particularly rice, shows that we have more than enough supply that will last for more than the next three months,” Dar said.
He issued the statement amid the surge in new COVID-19 cases and following the declaration of Metro Manila and nearby provinces under Alert Level 3.
Data showed that as of Jan. 8, the country’s rice inventory would suffice for the next 115 days, enough until the next harvest season in April, according to the Philippine Integrated Rice Program.
The same level of sufficiency is noted for lowland and highland vegetables, which were at 85 percent and 107 percent sufficiency, respectively.
The DA also asked local government units to ensure unhampered and continuous flow of food and agricultural inputs to and from production and consumption areas, particularly those affected by Typhoon Odette.
The DA said there should be no unnecessary restrictions in the movement of goods, services and people.
“We will see to it that food supply lines are kept open, in partnership with the LGUs and ensure continuous delivery of major food items and temper prices,” Dar said.
“We already went through similar situations during previous community lockdowns and we were able to make it through with everybody’s cooperation. Thus, we reiterate anew that we should not be overzealous, but simply adhere to the required health and medical protocols. Once again, let us remain calm, conscientious and understanding,” Dar said.