THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is organizing a food-supply system for locked-down communities linking produce suppliers with local government units (LGUs), which will be responsible for estimating the community’s food requirements and delivering rations to households.

Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness and Marketing Kristine Y. Evangelista said the distribution system falls under the current program known as KADIWA ni Ani at Kita.

She said the plan calls for mode-1 distribution of produce delivery to LGUs, which will then package and ship the goods to individual households. Mode-2 distribution calls for delivery of the produce to drop-off points for pickup and distribution by the LGUs.

Drop-off points being considered include the Bureau of Plant Industry in Malate, Manila; Food Terminal, Inc. in Taguig City; and the DA Central Office in Quezon City.

The DA is also studying an order system under which households notify the LGUs of their requirements, which is designed to minimize human contact, Ms. Evangelista said.

The DA listed the food items eligible for passing through checkpoints as rice, sugar, fruits including coconut, vegetables and spices aquatic produce, whether fresh, frozen, chilled, or dried, live hogs and poultry, live carabaos, cattle, goats, and sheep, chicken and duck eggs whether fresh or salted, milk and dairy products, meat whether fresh, frozen, and chilled, meat products, canned food and cooking oil.

In a media briefing, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said the government task force dealing with the outbreak has agreed to unhampered access for food cargoes through checkpoints, subject to the issuance of vehicle passes, random searches by police, and temperature checks for the driver and vehicle occupants.

Other farm items allowed through checkpoints are feed and feed ingredients like corn, soya, flour, rice bran, wheat, copra meal, all pre-mixes such as enzymes and probiotics, veterinary medicine and biologics like vaccines for poultry and livestock, vitamins and mineral supplements, test kits and reagents for animals and poultry diseases, and items required by farm and meat processing plants like disinfectants, chlorines, machinery, and cold storage equipment.

Fishery items to be allowed through checkpoints are fry or fingerlings, feed, and fertilizers. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave