DA, LGUs asked to intensify buying capacity from local farmers

HOUSE Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Tuesday called on the Department of Agriculture (DA) and local government units (LGUs) to intensify its buying capacity from local farmers and boost our food supply this time of crisis.

"The plan of the Duterte administration, for instance, to import 300,000 metric tons of rice is very short sighted at best because it hurts our farmers more and undermines our own food security by making us more dependent on imported rice," said Zarate.

"Just look at what Vietnam did, they cancelled their rice exports because they have to prioritize their country's own needs. When other rice exporting countries follow suit, then we will again suffer another rice crisis. It is imperative, thus, to strengthen Philippine agriculture, especially at this time and provide enhance support services to our farmers," added the Davao-based solon.

For now, Zarate suggested that DA and LGUs should hasten buying local rice and other farm produce from farmers to increase the country’s rice stock and at the same time can be given as relief goods to those in lockdown areas.

“We commend some LGUs for already doing moves to stop the wastage of farm produce, help farmers get some income, while, fresh farm produce are given as part of relief goods to those in lockdown," said Zarate.

"We can stave off a looming food crisis if this is done now by the DA and LGUs and as long as the continued flow of food products are ensured unhampered passage through various checkpoints of locked down or quarantined areas," said Zarate.