Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala has instructed Department of Agriculture officials to immediately transport frozen chicken, potatoes and other vegetables from Manila and Baguio to Tacloban using three refrigerated vans from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the department reported on Monday.
Three more vans, from the Philippine Fisheries and Development Authority will load and deliver food items from Albay in Region V to Tacloban and neighbouring areas.
“We will be also utilising all available closed vans of the Department and its attached agencies to deliver eggs and other dry food items,” he said.
The agriculture chief has also instructed BFAR Director Asis Perez to deploy a 1,200-tonne vessel, currently anchored in Cagayan de Oro (CDO), to deliver food items to the Region.
Smaller ships will ferry food items to smaller islands.
The department is set to implement market mechanisms to move food items from the production areas to affected communities via the Barangay Food Terminal and local government food trading centres.
Functional food warehouses will also be used for stocking food.
“We will engage big market players such as the San Miguel Corporation in CDO to supply poultry products to affected areas,” Alcala said.
The National Food Authority in Region VII will begin to supply rice to parts of the region in an effort to augment rice stocks in areas severely damaged by the super typhoon.
The Philippine Coconut Authority has committed 300 chainsaws to be used for clearing operations.
A portable saw-mill will also be moved to the PCA yard in Tacloban.
Apart from the action to address the immediate needs of the local residents, the Philippine department of agriculture is also distributing rice, corn and vegetable seeds such as pechay, mustasa, upland kangkong, and okra seeds under the Early Recovery Programme of the government to enable farmers to start replanting and build for the future.
Mr Alcala announced the immediate suspension of the closed season in the Visayas and Palawan until 1 December to enable fishermen to catch various marine species for consumption and even to sell.
A total of 1,300 fishing boats, equipped with 5-horse power engine, 4000 fishing nets will be constructed and divided among the affected families.
The department is also set to position a total of 200 payaos amounting to P40 million, to aid affected municipal fishermen. Payao, a floating artificial reef, is a fishing device used for catching high value fish species.