PH econ managers bat for greater support for agri to control inflation

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2019 06:56 PM

MANILA - Philippine economic managers said the agriculture sector needs more support from the government after extreme weather events disrupted food supplies last year and stoked inflation. 

In a joint statement, the finance and budget departments along with state planning agency, National Economic and Development Authority, said "the agriculture sector needs greater attention now more than ever."

With rice prices seen stabilizing with the expected signing of the Rice Tariffication Bill, economic managers said the Department of Agriculture should now address problems in fruits and vegetables, which experienced weather-related supply shocks last year. 

"We urge the Department of Agriculture (DA) to facilitate a comprehensive crop management system to align farming activities with the prevailing supply-demand condition and weather pattern," the cabinet's Economic Development Cluster said in a statement. 

They also called on the DA to "intensify" the sustainable management of coastal and other marine resources amid the reported decline of fish catch.

"The agriculture sector must work towards resiliency and be adaptive to extreme weather events."

Inflation quickened to near 10-year highs peaking at 6.7 percent in September and October last year as prices of rice, fish, vegetables and other food staples surged amid supply issues. 

Economic managers said "slower price increases in food and non-alcoholic beverages softened the overall inflation rate" which decelerated to 4.4 percent in January.