DA plans P32-B food security program to cushion Covid-19 impact

MANILA – To ensure production of adequate, accessible and affordable food, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is requesting for a PHP32-billion supplemental budget to implement a food security program, dubbed as "Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra sa COVID-19."

"This initiative, on top of the Department’s existing programs, is aimed at averting food shortage, supply disruptions, and unstable prices due to the adverse impact of Covid-19 on farm and fishery production, and transport of basic commodities and processed food products to urban areas, particularly Metro Manila," DA Secretary William Dar.

Dar said the ALPAS Covid-19 program will enable the country to attain a food-secure Philippines during the national emergency period.

“With the Covid-19 pandemic, we expect a tightening of global food supply. We are aware that when there is not enough food, disorder is probable," he said.

While improving food adequacy level, Dar emphasized the need to maintain food security amid the enhanced community quarantine being imposed in entire Luzon and some provinces to combat Covid-19.

“If no action is done, the threat of hunger is as real as the threat of the virus,” he said. "Therefore, we will expand farm areas, improve production efficiencies, and enhance projects and activities to ensure affordability and availability of food supply.”

The PHP32-B supplemental budget includes:

• PHP8.5B - rice resiliency project;
• PHP7B - palay procurement fund of the National Food Authority;
• PHP3B - expanded SURE Aid and recovery project;
• PHP3B - expanded agriculture insurance project;
• PHP3B - social amelioration for farmers and farm workers;
• PHP1B - upscaling of KADIWA ni Ani at Kita;
• PHP1B - integrated livestock and corn resiliency project;
• PHP1B - expanded small ruminants and poultry project;
• PHP1B - coconut-based diversification project;
• PHP1B - fisheries resiliency project;
• PHP1B - revitalized gulayan project;
• PHP500M - urban agriculture project;
• PHP500M - acquisition of protective personal equipment;
• PHP300M - corn for food project; and
• PHP200M - information, education and communications project. (PR)