As vegetables and other farm produce are left wasted due amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) lockdown, the private sector has proposed for an “emergency” trading centers to be put up in every barangay to ensure consumers supply of healthy food.
The Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food (PCAFI) said the establishment of emergency testing centers is “urgent” as vegetables in Benguet are getting wasted away as many roads in barangays have been blocked due to Covid-19.
Food producers should also be allowed to take the lead in this supply system so as to widen participation in the distribution of needed goods — ensuring food security.
“Emergency trading centers in barangays and subdivisions nearest to consumers will give people access to the food they need while enhanced community quarantine is in effect. Mobile and rolling stores should be immediately dispatched. The agribusiness sector, unhampered, must take the lead,” said PCAFI president Danilo V. Fausto.
The trading centers will supply more nutrients to Filipino consumers than just what is available in canned goods which are what is being distributed by barangays, he added.
The emergency trading centers will also spare farmers from further impoverished situation amid Covid-19.
The same trading centers will also be used as place for sorting, packaging, marketing, and delivery of farm produce whenever found in food-producing areas.
“Marketing, distribution and delivery efforts should be augmented with the help of government, the LGUs (local government units), and even by the military to ensure that food reaches the consumers and market of the farmers’ produced is assured,” Fausto said.
Amid the consequential crisis from the pandemic, PCAFI also stressed the nation should not forget existing quarantine measures against the African swine fever (ASF), among others, as this may be neglected.
“Complications on quarantine protocol: ASF for swine, Avian Flu for poultry and Fall army worm for corn could be left unattended due to the pandemic on Covid-19.
“Some local government units (LGUs) are defiant to the executive orders and laws that were promulgated to ensure safety and availability of food for their constituents. LGUs should be forced, with the help of the police and military to let go of their excess food produced in their area in order to ensure their availability to other parts of the country, ” he said.