THE Philippines has enough food on hand to last until the first quarter, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said, even though agricultural logistics remain under strain because of quarantines.   

“We assure fellow Filipinos that we will have enough food on our table by the end of the year and into the first quarter of 2021,” Mr. Dar said in a statement.

Mr. Dar said that based on estimates made by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in mid-July, the food supply and outlook are adequate, with rice stocks expected to end 2020 with enough supply for 89 days.

Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the DA said that production of palay, or unmilled rice, during the second quarter of the year rose 6.85% year on year due to increased harvest area.

The supply outlook for other agricultural commodities at the end of the year is “favorable,” according to the DA, with corn stocks estimated to be good for 237 days by the end of 2020; chicken sufficient for 182 days; and vegetables enough for 20 days.

“Given this favorable outlook, we will continue to implement our umbrella program, ‘Plant, Plant,  Plant,’ to further boost the production of major food commodities, led by rice and other major crops, aquaculture and fish, poultry and livestock animals,” Mr. Dar said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Dar said that moving forward, domestic production must be geared towards feeding the population in the post-lockdown period.

To raise agricultural output, Mr. Dar said the focus should be on improving the production-to-consumption value chain and logistics, empowering the marginalized, and boost biosecurity measures against imported pests and diseases.

“We are elevating our game guided by the policy shifts in our food security framework to reboot and grow the country’s agriculture and fishery sector onto the new normal,” Mr. Dar said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave