There’s enough food, public assured
MANILA, Philippines — Keep calm and carry on.
The country’s biggest food producers delivered this message on Saturday as they assured consumers there is no shortage of food, especially in Metro Manila, even though the entire island of Luzon is under enhanced community quarantine.
Hundreds of agricultural producers as well as San Miguel Corp. (SMC), Universal Robina Corp. (URC) and Century Pacific Food all committed to produce enough food while Luzon is under a stringent quarantine meant to curb the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We will all have food to eat during these long days,” said SMC president Ramon Ang, noting that the country’s largest corporation produces 1.96 million kilograms of fresh meat, including poultry, beef and pork, alongside 524,000 kg of canned goods, chicken nuggets and hot dogs, and 2.11 million kg of flour, biscuits and baked goods every day.
No panic buying
URC, owned by the Gokongwei family, also assured sufficient supply.
“This is to reassure the public that supply of URC products, such as its food and beverage brands Great Taste coffee, Nissin Cup Noodles, Magic Crackers, C2 Green Tea, Robina Farms meat and eggs, Baker John bread, as well as agro-industrial products and commodities, is adequate,” URC said.
“Let us all do our share in beating COVID-19 by not panic buying,” Century Pacific Food Inc. president Ted Po said on Friday night.
Century Pacific’s brands include Century Tuna, Argentina, 555, Swift, Birch Tree Fortified Milk, Angel Milk, Fresca, Wow Ulam, Hunt’s and Coco Mama.
“Our factories are continually operating with enough capacity despite the use of a skeletal workforce,” Po said.
“We currently have sufficient stock of products in our warehouses so there is no need to panic or worry that supply might run out,” Po said after the Philippine Association of Meat Processors said that Century Pacific had less than 15 days’ worth of inventory.
“Our farms are filled with poultry and hogs,” said Rosendo So, chair of the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, which represents hundreds of farmers cooperatives and groups all over the country, in a statement on Saturday.
“There have been delays in the movement of both inputs for production and live animals [but] we’ve been in close coordination with the (Department of Agriculture) to assure the free-flowing operations of the industry,” he added.
He said the latest inventory of frozen pork in accredited cold storage facilities remained high at 43,398 metric tons (MT), while poultry products were pegged at 56,521 MT, compared to the inventory from month-ago and year-ago levels, with production expected to continue over the lockdown.
“[And these figures] only cover accredited cold storage facilities. We have several others across the country,” So said.
As of January, the Philippine Statistics Authority recorded the country’s swine and poultry inventory at 12.80 million heads and 178.26 million birds, respectively.
The Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc. (ProPork) made the same assurance.
“We have more than enough supply, and we continue to work hard to make sure the Philippines has food resiliency and we, as producers, can put safe food on the tables of every Filipino,” said Edwin Chen, ProPork president.
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