Press Statement
of Agriculture Secretary William Dar
March 26, 2020

We wish to assure the public that the Department of Agriculture is exerting all efforts to help provide adequate, accessible and affordable food for every Filipino family during this difficult time.

For rice, our major staple, we have enough supply to tide us over towards the lean months. In particular, by the end of the first semester, our rice inventory is good for 67 days.

We will pursue the same level of adequacy for the other major agricultural and fishery commodities.

We are also exploring all strategies to see to it that we sustain food security by attaining higher levels of food adequacy, particularly through the implementation of measures to surmount this challenging time in our history.

The possibility of a tightened global supply is always present, as traditional rice exporting countries are expected to favor securing stocks for their own people, amid increased demand and heightened restrictions in global trade and travel.

Again, we wish to emphasize that the threat of hunger is as real as the threat of COVID-19. Hence, the government is giving equal priority and attention to continuously expand local food production to avoid potential shortage.

To help widen people’s access to food, we are encouraging our big agribusiness companies and consolidators to come forward and directly engage in cluster farming, in partnerships with organized farmers’ and fishers’ groups.

Further, we are set to carry out these strategies to increase national agri-fishery output through expansion of areas to be covered by government programs and the use of advanced and relevant technologies to increase levels of productivity across all commodities.

One big strategy that we will implement is the “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat” or “ALPAS COVID-19,” popularly called “Plant, Plant, Plant” program. On top of our regular budget for 2020, we are proposing a supplemental budget of ₱32 billion to fund the Plant, Plant, Plant program.

In all, we call for stronger and sustained collaboration with all agri-fishery industry stakeholders, the LGUs, farmers’ and fishers’ groups, the academe, and the private sector.

Together, we can hurdle this enormous global challenge. ###

Noel Ocampo Reyes
DA Spokesperson & A/Sec for Comms & Media Affairs