Farmers say Marcos Jr. policies worsened the food crisis – Bulatlat

July 10, 2024


A farmer, Nilda Davao in barangay San Jose, Montalban, Rizal checking her crops after the typhoon hit their village. (Photo by Jaja Necosia)

By DANIELA MAURICIO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – A farmers group raised concern how food prices remain as the main driver of the country’s inflation rate. This is despite the slight ease in the overall inflation, decreasing to 3.7 percent in June from May’s 3.9 percent.

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas noted that the food inflation alone has accelerated from 6.1 percent to 6.5 percent, calling the slight overall decrease as “negligible.”

In a report, the Philippine Statistics Authority said the acceleration of food inflation in June 2024 was “mainly brought about by the faster year-on-year increase in vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and pulses index at 7.2 percent in June 2024 from 2.7 percent in the previous month.”

The government report also noted that meat products also contributed to the uptrend with an inflation rate of 3.1 percent during the month from 1.6 percent in May 2024.

Meanwhile, as the inflation on rice was supposedly lower per PSA report, independent think tank Ibon Foundation said its prices remain high.

“The overall unaffordable rice prices nationwide remain as the primary cause of faster inflation in the country,” said Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP.

EO order will not lower rice price

Contributing to the high cost of food, according to farmers, is the Department of Agriculture’s Executive Order No. 62, which reduces tariff rates on agricultural imports, such as rice from 35 percent to 15 percent.

“The Marcos Jr. administration has reached new heights in lying about how this executive order could lower the price of rice. It is clear that it will only benefit importers, traders, and hoarders,” Ramos said in a separate statement.

The group added that the agricultural crisis has been left unaddressed under the present administration, with the country’s worsening agricultural trade deficit, and job losses have occurred, with 462,000 jobs lost in rice production alone due to the effects of El Niño.

“Importation and liberalization will keep the country chronically dependent on imported rice and food, and vulnerable to the availability of global supplies,” said Ramos.

Upcoming SONA

As the third State of the Nation Address nears, KMP said they are supporting the calls for meaningful workers salary that can meet the family living wage.

“Poor and low-income families still bear the brunt of the high cost of living. The token wage increase for workers – P35 – approved by the National Capital Region wage board is not even enough to buy a kilo of rice at current retail prices,” Ramos said.

KMP vowed to continue demanding for lower food prices and higher wages and to oppose policies that will negatively impact Filipino farmers and the agricultural sector. (JJE, RTS) (https://www.bulatlat.org)





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