AGRICULTURE Secretary William D. Dar said Metro Manila’s food supply will be sufficient in the event of a lockdown and movement restrictions due to the increasing number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Mr. Dar said Metro Manila has rice stocks equivalent to five to six months’ consumption to sustain it until the next harvest if ever the NCR is locked down.

According to Mr. Dar, supply of other foods is ample due to the harvests in March and April.

“We have enough supply for food products such as rice. March and April are harvest seasons which means that there should be no worries about food supply,” Mr. Dar said.

He said COVID-19 is not the only disease to worry about, with African Swine Fever (ASF) also afflicting the pig herd nationwide.

Mr. Dar said measures being considered in the event of a lockdown include urban agriculture.

“There so much space in urban areas like Metro Manila. It is also a good time to plant this season. Government agencies such as the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), have been asked to accelerate their interventions during this time,” Mr. Dar added.

Mr. Dar also urged the public to avoid panic-buying because there is no lockdown yet.

Wala pa namang lockdown. Huwag nating pangunahan yung potential scenario. Ginagawa ng gobyerno ang lahat para matulungan ang publiko, (There is no lockdown yet. Let’s not get ahead of things because the government is doing everything it can to help the public),” Mr. Dar said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave