DA 11 beefs up rice supply, taps privately-owned rice mills

The Department of Agriculture and the National Food Authority in the Davao Region are implementing measures to ensure that food supply will continue to flow amid the region-wide lockdown due to the threat of coronavirus.   

Noel Provido, DA 11 information officer, told Edge Davao that DA 11 is now beefing up the supply of rice by tapping private milling services to process procured palay, aside from the NFA-owned rice mills which continue to operate.  

He also said the department’s frontline services, which include milling, procurement and operations remain uninterrupted.
“Yes, we have enough supply of rice,” he said.

Leonila Selpa, NFA-Davao manager said NFA will issue food lane accreditation vehicle to all truckers hauling NFA rice to different provinces in Davao Region to guarantee and secure enough and timely positioning of rice stocks.

Provido said DA 11 has also started issuing certification for food suppliers of vegetables, fruits, and meat products.

For Davao suppliers, suppliers can ask for the certification from the agribusiness and marketing division of DA 11 at F. Bangoy St., while those from the provinces and towns, can ask for it from the municipal agriculture office.

Recently, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chairman Secretary Emmanuel Piñol issued a statement saying MinDA has initiated a monitoring system to determine the sufficiency of food and other critical household items especially in the island provinces of Mindanao.

Piñol said the monitoring system, which is to be handled by the Area Management Offices (AMO) of their agency, was established following a call for help from Tawi-Tawi Governor Mang Sali in view of the province’s depleted rice supply.

With the imposition of lockdowns by the different local government units, the movement of food supplies has been affected, especially transport of goods to remote areas, according to Piñol.

He also mentioned that the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, including the small island communities, are the most vulnerable in case of a failure in the movement of food supplies and goods.

He said these islands are mainly dependent on supplies from the mainland of Mindanao or from Sabah which is just a few hours away from the provinces of Tawi-Tawi and Sulu.
“Sabah, however, has also imposed strict measures against the spread of the COVID-19,” he said.

Piñol assured that MinDA will ensure that the food needs of the remote areas and isolated islands are provided for by tapping naval assets and commercial vessels.