Senator Imee Marcos said Wednesday the Department of Trade and Industry’s suggested retail prices for food will remain a “fairy tale” due to animal disease and climatic conditions affecting hog and vegetable farmers in Luzon.
“The pervasive African swine fever and frost damage to crops will make it hard for the DTI to keep the cost of pork and vegetables within SRPs,” Marcos said.
Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, says high food prices will hit poor households the hardest because “about 60 percent of their budget is spent on food.”
“Creeping inflation is at a level not seen since March 2019. Food prices weigh heavily on the country’s inflation rate, which as of December is already at 3.5 percent and could rise further,” Marcos said.
She urged the Department of Agriculture to give all the support it can to the livestock and vegetable farmers in the Visayas and Mindanao as Luzon seeks to prevent food shortages and higher market prices in the coming weeks.
“Expect food prices to remain high. The transport and cold-chain costs of importing agricultural produce from the South will also inflate food prices in Metro Manila and throughout Luzon,” Marcos said.
“Imperial Manila is being humbled by ASF, which has hit some 70 percent of hog raisers in Luzon and has forced many of them to give up their business.
“There is still no vaccine for ASF. The DA should redouble efforts to prevent contamination among hog raisers, most of whom are backyard farmers with less stringent animal health standards.”
According to a wet market survey by Marcos’s office, Metro Manila pork prices have increased beyond the seasonal Christmas spike, from Php300 to Php360 per kilo to as high as Php380 to Php400 as of Tuesday.