Minimize demand for rice, eat camote

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) yesterday urged the people to eat alternative food like camote (sweet potato) cassava and corn, which are more nutritious than rice.

DA 7 Technical Director Marina Hermoso made the statement during the media briefing at MIP Lounge of Mactan-Cebu International Airport, amid reports that rice traders and retailers have increased rice prices despite the Visayas being declared under a state of calamity.

The Ganador brand of rice, which used to be sold at P44 per kilo, was sold at P48 per kilo after the earthquake and P53 per kilo after Yolanda.

Earlier, Ma. Lucia Rosales, regional information officer of the National Food Authority (NFA), urged consumers to buy NFA rice, which is sold in the market at P27 per kilo.

Hermoso said the farmers cannot meet the demand, hence, the government through the NFA imports rice from countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and China.

But she said that if the people will shift to eating root crops like camote and cassava, the demand for rice will go down and the traders will be forced to lower their prices.

Aside from root crops, Hermoso said the people can also shift to eating vegetables. More vegetable intake reduces rice consumption, she said.

Meanwhile, Hermoso said her agency assists the rehabilitation of areas where farms were wiped out by typhoon Yolanda.

“We distributed chainsaws to clear farms of fallen coconuts, mango and other trees. We distributed farm tools and implements for the use of farmers in tilling their farms,” Hermoso said.

She said the DA 7 has plenty of corn seeds but they are storing them for distribution to farmers during planting season.

Meanwhile, Assistant Regional Director Elias Fernandez of the Department of Interior and Local Government said they urge local government units (LGUs) to coordinate with the DA in promoting food production in their localities.

He said officials of the barangays, municipalities and cities are effective in guiding farmers because they are in the grassroots.

Eddie Llamedo, public information officer of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 7 said LGU officials must also inform the farmers about the geohazard map detailing the flood-prone and landslide-prone areas so they will be always safe.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 18, 2013.

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