THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

House Hearing on Food Prices (Feb 2, 2021)

Author: DA Communications Group | 2 February 2021

“Let me assure you, as the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA), of sufficient supply of various agricultural and fishery products. We at the Department will exert efforts to sustain it,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar during a house briefing on rising food prices for the Committee on Agriculture and Food and Trade and Industry on February 2, 2021.

The agri chief presented to the House Committee the actions of the Department in relation to management of food supplies and prices.

To ensure that food is sufficient in the country, Dar said DA will focus on four major strategies: 1) increasing local production of safe, nutritious, and affordable food; 2) improving local supply chain and mobilization from surplus provinces to other areas; 3) promoting other sources of protein or food diversification and; 4) importation as last resort to fill gap.

For the hog industry, Sec. Dar committed to investigate and identify “viajeros” or traders that go beyond farm gate price to manipulate the price of pork and chicken in the market.

He said DA will also pursue its “anti-smuggling drive” through strengthening its first border inspection in close coordination with Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), and Bureau of Customs (BOC). DA will also set-up Agriculture Commodity Examination Area (ACEA) in port areas.

“We will capacitate local government units (LGUs) to properly implement ASF measures and the Price Act,” Sec. Dar said.

A total of P600 million will be allotted for the repopulation of hogs in the green zones areas. The Landbank of the Philippines and other financial institutions will also be tapped for the establishment of a loaning facility for hog raisers.

According to the Secretary, DA will allot budget to shoulder the shipping cost for the mobilization of hogs and other food commodities from Visayas and Mindanao to Metro Manila.

The DA has already made arrangements with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for possible utilization of ships and other assets.

Following President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s approval of the recommended price ceiling, Dar directed the immediate posting of communication materials in wet markets and other strategic locations. (Photo by Alan Jay Jacalan, DA-AFID)