ONE of the best practices I saw from the mayor of Himamaylan City and also from the mayor of Roxas, Zamboanga del Norte, was that instead of just distributing the usual sardines and noodles as relief packs, they would also buy the products of the locals; fish, vegetables, and even meat and then distribute them back as well as part of the government sponsored food rations.
I find such initiative quite strategic in cushioning the impact of Covid-19 in more ways than one. You see, in this fight against a novel coronavirus where our strongest defense is our immune system, we need to be more physically nourished than ever. Sardines and noodles are not actually helping us on that note. They are readily available alright and they can get us through hunger but they are going to be a weak defense when it comes to strengthening our immune system. Their preservatives are even known to cause some of the serious illnesses we have in the community.
Second, by buying the products from the locals, the mayors also cushion the economic impact of this pandemic in their locality as local economy continue to propel. I mean we all know that with sardines and noodles, only the capitalist producers and distributors earn from such bulk purchase and maybe perhaps a few of those who get kickbacks in the procurement while the rest of the local industries are left to dry.
Here in Bacolod, my friend who’s into broiler chicken distribution shared just how hard it is for poultry raisers to harvest and dispose their products now amid the enhanced community quarantine. They could not harvest their broilers as there are no buyers in the market, and so they are forced to continue to spend for feeds everyday adding up expenses to their losses.
This brings me to suggest that maybe if local government units can purchase local products such as meat and poultry and add them to their relief distribution, then perhaps we can hit two birds in one arrow.
Upon further inquiry I was told by my friend who is a member of the Abino-Association of Broiler Integrators in Negros Occidental, that their group is willing to dive down the prices of their goods just to dispose their products, repack them on small amounts and distribute them to households if storage becomes an issue. To them, it would also be their contribution to help communities fight this war. The same can also be done to our local fish products and vegetables.
In this crisis, it’s not only the marginalized who gets adversely affected, but all industries as well. And if we can just be strategic in spending the millions our LGUs allocate for food rationing then we can really help each other survive this pandemic.