IN what appears to be an effort to prevent the artificial food shortage, President Rodrigo Duterte called for a food security summit to address issues currently hounding the food industry.
In a press briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that among the issues the summit seeks to address are the high prices of pork, the drop in farm-gate prices of palay, and the onslaught of the African swine fever (ASF).
“The Executive branch is calling for a Food Security Summit, with the Department of Agriculture (DA) as lead agency, to continue to boost and develop the agri-fishery sector through the cooperation, coordination and collaboration of the local government units (LGUs) and the private sector’s industry players and stakeholders,” Roque said.
Pork Producers’ Federation of the Philippines (ProPork) earlier called on the government to conduct a nationwide dialogue to address the lack of pork and chicken supply that resulted in the unabated increase of pork and chicken prices.
The lack of pork and chicken supply was further aggravated as vendors refused to sell their goods to avoid further losses in view of the price ceiling imposed by the President on February 8.
Likewise, Roque said that the Food Security Summit would also serve as a platform to find the most ideal models for agribusiness value-chain approach, LGU-led agri-fishery extension system even as he claimed that the forum would help strengthen the role and capacities of local price coordinating councils and regional development councils.
“The summit aims to develop a National Food Security Plan to achieve our vision of a food-secure and resilient Philippines with prosperous farmers and fisherfolks, and where consumers have continuous flow of food and producers stay productive amid unhampered movement of agricultural commodities, accessibility and price stability,” he added.
In response to vendors who went on pork holiday, the DA has already set the wholesale price of pork at P235 per kilo to complement President Duterte’s Executive Order 124, which set a price ceiling of P270 per kilo for kasim and pigue, P300 for liempo and P160 for dressed chicken sold in Metro Manila for 60 days.
The DA also implemented a transportation subsidy for pork supply coming from Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon at P21 per kilo, P15 per kilo and P10 per kilo, respectively.