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Palace calls for food summit as prices soar

Pork prices in the National Capital Region jumped by as much as 77% in January, amid a supply shortage as hog raisers deal with the ASF outbreak. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

MALACAÑANG is calling for a Food Security Summit to tackle issues affecting the agriculture sector, amid soaring prices of pork and the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak, Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said.

In a statement, Mr. Roque said the summit, led by the Agriculture department will include local government units and industry players and stakeholders.

“The Food Security Summit likewise aims to discuss mitigation measures on current issues affecting the agriculture sector such as the upsurge in the prices of pork, drop in farmgate prices of palay, the onslaught of the ASF, among others,” he said.

“It further seeks to present some models for agribusiness value-chain approach, LGU-led agri-fishery extension system, and strengthening the role and capacities of local price coordinating councils and regional development councils.”

The summit also seeks to create a national food security plan to ensure the “unhampered movement of agricultural commodities” and stability of food prices.

Consumer prices rose faster for the fourth straight month to a two-year high in January after a spike in food and transport costs.

The Philippine central bank in a separate statement said inflation could be better tempered through non-monetary policies.

Headline inflation quickened to 4.2% last month, faster than 3.5% in December and 2.9% a year earlier, the statistics agency said on Friday. It was also the fastest since 4.4% in January 2019.

Food inflation accelerated to 6.6% from 4.9% in the previous month, buoyed by double-digit increases in meat and vegetable prices.

January inflation for meat was 17.1% from 10% in December, while vegetable prices surged by 21.2% from 19.7% in December.

Pork prices in the National Capital Region jumped by as much as 77% in January, amid a supply shortage as hog raisers deal with the ASF outbreak.

This prompted President Rodrigo R. Duterte to impose a price ceiling on pork and chicken products for 60 days. Pork prices have been capped at P270 per kilogram for pigue and P300 per kilo for liempo in Metro Manila, while the price of dressed chicken was capped at P160 per kilo. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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