Marcos eyes food import cuts to deal with inflation

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. plans to address rising inflation by reducing the country’s reliance on imported food staples.

In a press conference after his first Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Marcos said he intends to solve the country’s food supply concerns by boosting local production of rice and corn.

“We would prefer to import as little as possible. So we should increase our own production of rice and corn,” Marcos said.

He noted the country needs to increase its production of corn, which is being used as a feed substitute for imported wheat.

“This season, the corn growers were able to come together and provide sufficient feed for the broiler production. But we still have to increase production of corn to ensure that supply because there’s also—there’s corn for food and there’s corn for feed,” Marcos said.

Short-term response

Marcos said he wants to provide government intervention to farmers before the last planting season this year as a “short-term”

solution to the country’s food supply concerns.

“They will harvest towards the end of the year, they will mill soon after that. So we may be able to catch up with our food supply problem by then,” Marcos said.

But when it comes to pork, Marcos said the country has no choice but to continue importing it since local hog farmers are still reeling from the effects of the African Swine Fever (ASF).

He said it was also the same case for poultry due to the issues with feed supplies.

“On the broiler side, the chicken production, broiler production, we will also still have to import because we have problems with feeds,” Marcos said.

Imported inflation

On Tuesday, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported the inflation rate accelerated to 6.1 percent in June compared to 5.4 percent in May.

PSA noted the spike in food and nonalcoholic beverage was one of the main contributors to the high inflation rate.

Marcos said the country’s inflation rate may actually be lower than what was stated by PSA.

“I think I will have to disagree with that number. We are not that high,” Marcos said.

He blamed the country’s high inflation rate on external factors.

“Much of our inflation is actually imported inflation. It is imported because it is the inflation on the products that have suffered inflation that we import,” Marcos said.

Image credits: Nonie Reyes

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