Several Mindanao governors have adopted a food security strategy in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, said the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the agency that formulated the strategy.
In a press statement, MinDA said the Self-Sustaining Food Security Strategy (SSFSS) links up neighboring provinces to ensure food supply for their constituents and tries to prevent food shortages.
The aim of SSFSS is to ensure that local government units (LGU) are able to quantify their current food supply inventory and identify possible sources such as its neighboring provinces and other adjacent areas. It is also expected to ensure sufficient food production and sound distribution methods in the different areas in Mindanao.
Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, MinDA chair, said in a Facebook post last Thursday that Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, whose province is looking for ample supply of rice, was informed that its neighboring province, Davao de Oro, may have excess production of the commodity.
Meanwhile, North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco is ready to implement SSFSS in her province, the agency said. Under her implementation, upland rice seeds will be distributed to complement the lowland areas production.
The agency added that vegetable seeds and backyard chicken breeders will also be distributed to encourage farmers who are confined to their farms to produce more food. She said that farmers who produce chicken, hogs, eggs, and vegetables may also be bought by the LGUs for distribution to residents as food assistance.
“We don’t know how long the problem would last, that is why we have to be prepared,” Catamco said.
On the other hand, Sulu Governor Sakur Tan said his province has sufficient food supply, especially cassava which is a staple food for the Tausug.
Under the SSFSS, local chief executives will be asked to design and implement a municipal or provincial food security action plan, conduct an inventory and quantify existing supplies of basic food commodities like rice, eggs, poultry, meat; and fruits like banana, and identify individuals or groups which could undertake sustained food production, Piñol said.
Families, especially those confined to their farms, are also encouraged to undertake simple food production activities like vegetable growing and backyard chicken raising by distributing seeds and breeding materials for chicken and utilize locally produced food commodities like poultry, rice, and vegetables for calamity assistance.
This would lead to creating a localized market for farmers’ and fishermen’s produce whose distribution is impaired by the existing lockdowns.
It also tasked to identify neighboring LGUs which would have excess production of any food commodity and forge an alliance of two or more LGUs to establish a symbiotic food supply relationship and establish a marketing and distribution system which would ensure available food supply for the families within the community while at the same time, mindful of the quarantine protocols enforced.