Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala assured today 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 Department of Agriculture reported proactive government measures that kept damage to farm-fishery sector “minimal” thus far.
Speaking to reporters in a press conference, Alcala 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.
“Sinisiguro po natin na hindi po tayo kukulangin ng suplay lalu na sa poultry products dahil nakita po natin na kung sakaling hagupitin tayo ng ganito ay nag-parating po tayo two months ago pa po,” 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.
“Sa mga gulay po naman, safe na safe po ang Benguet. Yun pong Nueva Vizcaya, tuloy-tuloy po ang production, at kahit po kahapon nandun po ako sa Quezon ay tuloy at maganda po ang transakyon doon sa [Sariaya] trading center. So we don’t see any reason para po ma-disrupt ang supply ng gulay,” 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.
Minor damage expected
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 Department – such as encouraging the quick harvest of mature crops and the delivery of timely warnings to fishermen about rough sea conditions to prevent mishaps – in keeping with President Aquino’s instructions.
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 P1.02 billion worth of crops, fishery products and infrastructure in Bicol, Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas alone.
But the report pointed out that the estimated production losses in rice at 48,054 metric tons, and corn at 7,550 MT only represented 1.12% and 0.33% respectively of the total predicted national output in the first quarter of 2015. (Mac Garcia, DA OSEC)