Pres. Marcos Jr. puts premium on Phl food security
Citing the importance of food supply, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. urged the executive management of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to work fast and attend to the food production matter properly.
During yesterday’s press conference at Malacañang, after the first Cabinet Meeting, the President stressed that his key instructions to DA focus on ensuring food supply for the next two quarters of the year.
“The immediate concern in the next six months is food supply. We need to feed our people, and so we need to find strategies to make sure that those who are in need are supported by the government,” he said.
For the long term, President Marcos Jr. has directed the rebuilding of the food value chain from research and development, all the way to retail.
Marcos also highlighted that importation will not be the primary measure to be undertaken under his administration to ensure enough and affordable food supply.
“We prefer not to import. We will increase our own production of rice and corn in the coming two quarters hanggang Pasko, and until after Christmas,” he explained adding that corn production need to be intensified to provide feed supply for the broiler industry.
However, the President said that if badly needed, the country will import as little as possible.
“It’s not really an import substitution measure, it is a strategic food supply measure,” he said.
With the African Swine Fever still affecting the local pork industry and shortage in feed supply posing a problem for the broiler industry, the DA may still look into the importation of minimal volume of pork and chicken.
“Production is not sufficient. Our production is not sufficient in rice, corn, livestock and fisheries. That is why I made agriculture the highest priority of what we are doing because you cannot build a strong economy if you don’t have the foundation of a robust agricultural sector which assures food supply even in emergencies,” the President said.
He added that the new government will look for resolutions that will take care of the problem, focusing more on the disease rather than the symptoms.
“There are elements in the food value chain na nandyan, pero di sila part ng process. Bubuuin natin ito, because when vertically integrate madaming savings all along the line, and it gets to the point when we can retail these agricultural products at a good price that’s affordable to the people. That’s for the long-term,” he said.
During the press con, President Marcos also announced that he is giving the Cabinet members a free hand in deciding who to hire and how to change the structure of their respective departments.
“But do it soon because we have work to do,” he said.