Economic team urges agriculture dept to solve food supply problems

MANILA, Philippines – The government's economic managers welcomed the steady 6.7% inflation rate in October, but urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to implement reforms.

In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, November 6, the National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Budget and Management, and Department of Finance called on the DA to continue enforcing mitigating measures and improving farmers' productivity to bring down food and rice prices.

Rice comprises a huge chunk in the computation for inflation. Changes in rice prices heavily affect the overall figure.

Rice prices remained elevated throughout the year due to the delayed arrival of rice imports, alleged hoarding and price manipulation, and typhoons.

"To compensate for the lost harvest in typhoon-affected areas, rice imports should be closely monitored to ensure that their arrival is timely and sufficient," the joint statement reads.

They also urged the DA to continue initiatives to distribute seed buffer stocks for rice, corn, and other high-value crops in disaster-stricken areas in time for the planting season this November to January.

"Other regions of the country should be tapped to cover for the limited supply of other key agricultural products while farm areas in Luzon are still undergoing recovery," the agencies said.

They also called on the National Food Authority (NFA) to closely monitor its rice stock inventory and ensure that rice imports arrive as scheduled.

The agencies even went on to recommend the restructuring of the NFA to further streamline the processes of rice importation. They also urged Congress to pass the rice tariffication bill. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.

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