Press Releases

On April 2021 inflation rate

April 30th, 2021

As meat remains the major contributor to inflation, especially food inflation, decisive action is now needed. I have my reservations about EO 128, but now that it is law, we must give it a chance to work.

Whether we like it or not, domestic supply, for now cannot handle the demand for pork meat and stabilize prices. We have to import for the moment.

We need long-run investments in biosafety, better feeding, and value-chains for the domestic pork industry. But long-run solutions take time. I have proposed measures to expand crop insurance for livestock, invest in biosafety facilities, and develop value chains for agriculture. But for now, immediate supply stabilization via a balance of imports and domestic supply management is the key.

I call on the Department of Agriculture to help small players, farmer groups, and the domestic swine industry participate in the import market. I support their effort to distribute freezers to small players. We must also have a mechanism to allow farmers’ cooperatives to import pork meat by consolidating smaller import orders.

At the same time, we must ensure that domestic players, especially backyard hog raisers who account for 70% of pork production, are protected from any further outbreaks of the African Swine Fever. Domestic supply defense will remain absolutely critical, as the rest of the world is also facing ASF.

Individual backyard farming, without the support of cooperatives and farmer associations, will clearly no longer work for us. Individualized farming bears too much risk for too little reward for the individual farmer. It also fails to produce food for us at efficient levels. Agriculture works best in consolidation, with a support ecosystem. I hope to work with the DA so that we can move in this direction

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