DA assists food retailers in earthquake-hit Negros Oriental areas

February 20, 2012 11:50 pm 

MANILA, Feb. 20 — A few days after a 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit Negros Oriental, the Department of Agriculture immediately provided a seed fund to assist food retailers in five adversely affected municipalities.

In a report to Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, DA Region 7 Director Leo Cañeda said the retailers have to date sold a total of P5 million worth of basic food items.

Cañeda said efforts of the Aquino government, through the DA Eastern Visayas regional office, to ensure adequacy of basic agricultural food items continue in earthquake-affected municipalities of Tayasan, Jimalalud, Ayungon, La Libertad and Guihulngan.

He said the DA interventions, spearheaded by DA Region 7 Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (DA-AMAD7), may be gradually pulled out from Tayasan, Jimalalud, Ayungon and Libertad this week.

Food retail intervention for Guihulngan, the most affected area, may be phased out next week, Cañeda said.

He said Secretary Alcala visited Negros Oriental on February 8 and chaired an emergency meeting attended by heads of DA attached agencies in Dumaguete City. He immediately instructed the deployment of focal persons to Guihulngan, La Libertad, Jimalalud and Ayungon to ensure the availability and price stability of basic food items.

Cañeda said Secretary Alcala handed over to the DA regional office a seed fund of P400,000 to purchase the priority commodities such as meat, eggs, vegetables and fish products which were resold at pre-calamity market prices.

Cañeda said the focal persons undertook daily monitoring of prices and availability of food supply, and more particularly facilitated market linkage between producers and consumers to ensure stability of supply and price of commodities, among others.

Secretary Alcala also instructed the DA Central Visayas regional management committee to craft an institutional quick response mechanism to ensure adequate food supplies and stable prices during calamities. (PNA)

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