By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA (Philippines News Agency)– The government has readied immediate and medium-term solutions to help tame the increase in prices of food items, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque gave the assurance, as prices of agricultural products and other food items remain high despite the implementation of a price freeze on basic necessities amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
He also issued the statement after Agriculture Secretary William Dar warned unscrupulous traders who are jacking up prices of agricultural commodities and other basic goods in public markets at the start of the year.
To prevent higher market prices, Roque said the DA would allow more pork imports to raise supply, Roque said.
“Sa lalong mabilis na panahon, nag-aangkat po ang ating Department of Agriculture ng baboy galing po sa Visayas at Mindanao at iba pang mga ASF (African swine fever)-free areas ng Luzon (In soonest time possible, the Department of Agriculture is importing hogs from Visayas and Mindanao, and other ASF-free areas in Luzon),” he said.
Roque said the government would also prevent and control the spread of ASF in the country through the “Bantay ASF sa Barangay” program or BaBaY.
He added that there would also be massive repopulation of hogs in ASF-free areas in the country.
Roque said the government would also ramp up the implementation of SRPs (suggested retail prices) on fruits and vegetables.
He said vegetable and food production would also be intensified.
The government, Roque said, would also expand the “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita,” a government project that aims to establish a direct link between consumers and the farmers and fisherfolk.
“Tapos magpapadala pa po ang mga rehiyon nang mas maraming gulay at prutas sa Metro Manila, sa NCR. I-expand po natin ang urban agriculture, ‘yung Gulayan sa Paaralan at Barangay. Nagdi-distribute na rin po nang mas maraming mga seeds at planting materials ‘no (Other regions would also bring more vegetables and fruits to Metro Manila. We will also expand the urban agriculture. We are also distributing more seeds and planting materials),” Roque said.
Roque said medium-term solutions include the expansion of aquaculture and the conduct of joint fishing of commercial and municipal fisherfolk. (PNA)