The Agriculture department wants to craft a national food security plan to prevent a repeat of a rice crisis that recently hit the southern Philipines.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the “National Food Security Strategy”, in particular, would indicate which areas in the country have surplus production of a certain commodity and which areas need additional supplies.

This will enable the proportional distribution of needed goods, he added, preventing shortages and price spikes.

Consumers in the Zamboanga-Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-Tawi (Zambasulta) area have been hit by sky-high prices of rice due to very limited supplies — attributed to the delayed arrival and distribution of imported rice.

Rice prices in Zamboanga City and Basilan reached as high as P70 per kilo while those in Tawi-Tawi reached as high as P100 per kilo.

Piñol said that he had directed DA Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano to prepare “localized” food security planning programs.

“Every town and province of the country will be asked by the Department of Agriculture with the help of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to prepare their local food security plans indicating how they could feed their constituents and what support they need from the national government,” he said in a Facebook post.

The Agriculture chief said they would also be meeting later this month with governors and mayors in a one-day forum of four clusters — Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao — where local officials would be asked to submit their own food security plans along with needed interventions.