The Ministry of Agriculture (DA) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (DTI) should boost the transport and delivery of local agricultural products before resorting to import and price controls amid rising prices food, Senator Imee R. Marcos said on Tuesday.
Marcos, who chairs the Senate Economic Affairs Committee, said the DA and DTI’s “gut reaction” to control market prices through the import “vicious cycle” would leave only local market gardeners and ranchers. at the mercy of ruthless traders and cartels.
Marcos tabled Senate Resolution 619 seeking to investigate the status of the DA’s P 24 billion stimulus fund – the biggest piece of emergency funding under Bayanihan 2, and why the DTI failed successfully controlled food costs despite issuing Suggested Retail Prices (SRP).
The country’s food security in the coming months will depend on a more targeted use of the P24 billion AD fund and the agency’s rapid response and emergency funds, Marcos said.
“The department’s more diffuse and medium-term programs, involving the development of agro-entrepreneurs and research and business“ corridors ”, will not have an immediate impact on the urgent problem of soaring food prices. and the reduction in supply, ”she explained.
“These shouldn’t have been included in the Bayanihan menu in the first place, as they do not address the pandemic and the agricultural shortages we are currently facing,” Marcos added.
“As a warning, let’s exhaust all domestic supplies before we embark on DA’s instinctive import response as usual. We can turn this vicious circle into a virtuous one for the benefit of both our own farmers and our unfortunate consumers, ”Marcos stressed.
Farmers in Benguet complained that harvested produce already delivered to commercial stations could rot if more delivery trucks did not come to collect their vegetables.
Meanwhile, pastoralists have expressed fears that African swine fever (ASF) cases will increase with the entry of meat imports.
“Start by deploying more trucks to collect and deliver agricultural products from their sources. There are still local food supplies waiting to be sold, ”Marcos said.
“Also intensify the creation and presence of Kadiwa centers, which have continued since their creation in the 1970s to offer lower prices from farmer to consumer in depressed urban communities and hard-to-reach areas”, a- she added.
Marcos warned that importing food decreases interest in farming and could meet the prediction that by 2030 the Philippines will have no more local farmers, now an average of 57 years old. years.
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