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Stabilizing prices

The National Economic and Development Authority warns that the projected shortages in fish, pork and vegetable supply must be addressed to keep prices stable especially amid the wet season and La Niña threatening food production by year end.

Citing estimates of the Department of Agriculture as of mid-July, Neda said pork supply would end 2021 with a 199,344 metric ton deficit, or 45 days’ worth of stock, despite a 175.9 percent year-on-year jump in imports during the first half.

The government slashed tariffs and increased quotas on pork to ramp up importation amid the local African swine fever outbreak but Neda warned government to remain vigilant amid reports of new ASF cases in other countries like Germany.

Besides a possible pork shortage, Neda said “lowland vegetable production and fisheries supply are also expected to undershoot at 1,267,804 MT and 133,135 MT, or only at 80% and 96 percent sufficiency level, respectively,” citing DA and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources reports last month.

Even as headline inflation returned to within-target 4 percent last month, food prices rose 5.1 percent year-on-year due to more expensive vegetables and faster fish price hikes caused by low supply. Rising fuel prices also jacked up delivery costs of these products.

The DA is planning to fast track the issuance of the certificate of necessity to import to cover the domestic demand gap for fish during the closed fishing season starting October. It is also counting on the availability of highland vegetables to offset the deficit in its lowland counterparts and ease price pressures on food products. Because of importation, rice stock is also expected to surpass demand by end-2021.

We wish the government the best of luck as it works to ensure the availability of food products and ease potential price pressures for the rest of the year, especially as parts of the country remain under stricter lockdown measures due to the surge in COVID-19 cases as the already struggling Filipino people will be unable to bear it if the added burdens of food shortages and higher inflation rates will be added to their growing list of problems.*

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May 2022
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