IRR draft points to government plan to stockpile food ahead of shortages

IRR draft points to government plan to stockpile food ahead of shortages

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said that it is drafting implementing rules and regulations (IRR) governing the procurement of agricultural goods ahead of a possible tightening of the food supply.

DA Special Order No. 18 creates a technical working group (TWG) to prepare the IRR for Section 9 of Republic Act 7581, or the Price Act, as they apply to food procurement.

Section 9 of the Price Act gives the DA the power to procure, purchase, import, or stockpile basic or prime agricultural commodities.

The IRR will also set the rules for distributing the commodities during shortages or when there is a need to influence market prices.

In a statement on Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr. said that he ordered the working group to “develop a clear and concise set of rules to implement Section 9 of the Price Act.”

The TWG will also work with the Department of Trade and Industry and other government agencies to develop the IRR.

Consultations will be set with consumer groups and market experts to address their concerns.

“The Price Act was enacted to stabilize the supply and prices of basic necessities and prime commodities, to safeguard consumers against unreasonable price hikes, and ensure fair practices within the market,” the DA said.

The DA has been tasked with monitoring the prices of crops, fish and other marine products, fresh meat, fresh poultry, dairy products, fertilizer and other farm inputs during emergencies. — Adrian H. Halili