Alcala insists farmers are not going hungry despite nearly 1M ton in palay losses
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala denied media reports of farmers going hungry in Mindanao even as he projected a 970,000-ton loss in palay harvest this year because of El Nino.
Alcala said Soccsksargen or Region 12 where Kidapawan is, produced 20 percent more rice than what it consumed last year.
In a statement, he said the region’s rice sufficiency dropped to 120 percent from 127 percent in 2014 because of the dry spell and that he “is certain that the seven-percent drop in rice production in the region will not result to a shortage in supply.”
Alcala said palay losses from El Nino are estimated at 970,000 tons this year but actual loss is only at 203,000 tons. The Philippines consumes 31,000 metric tons of rice a day.
“Kung totoo pong walang makain, dapat po ay nag-shoot up ang mga presyo. Pero never pong nag-shoot-up ang mga presyo [ng pagkain],” Alcala said.
The agriculture department said Alcala was in Kidapawan City just last February in a forum where he “distributed” farm inputs and equipment to more than 6,000 farmers. He was also in Carmen, North Cotabato on March 16 to “extend assistance” and “personally meet” with more than 4,000 indigenous peoples. The agriculture department said both events were peaceful. (By: Eileen A. Mencias)