The Philippine government will continue to ensure a stable food supply to ease prices of fish, vegetables, and pork, and address the recent uptick in inflation, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said Tuesday.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the headline inflation rate increased to 4.9 percent in August this year from 4.0 percent in July. The Philippine central bank forecasted the range of 4.1 to 4.9 percent for August 2021.

Despite this increase, the year-to-date inflation remained at 4.4 percent.

Food inflation continued its uptrend at 6.9 percent in August from 5.1 percent in July.

In particular, fish inflation accelerated to 12.4 percent from 9.3 percent, while vegetable inflation rose to 15.7 percent from 5.0 percent due to the impact of the southwest monsoon and the onset of the rainy season.

Meat inflation slightly increased to 16.4 percent in August from 16 percent in July.

However, on a month-on-month basis, meat inflation slowed down to -0.4 percent suggesting some price stabilization.

In particular, retail prices of frozen and fresh pork have fallen by around PHP19 to PHP38 per kilo from their peak, following the issuance of Executive Order Nos. 133 and 134.

Rice inflation also remained negative at -0.4 percent year-on-year following the issuance of EO No. 135.

“We are beginning to see the impact of our proactive interventions to ease food prices, especially pork and rice. The government will continue to adjust and strengthen its policies to ensure that the people have access to affordable food amid the pandemic,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is also intensifying its hog repopulation program to address the supply gap in domestic production and address the elevated pork inflation.

Meanwhile, to ensure stable fish supply, the DA issued Administrative Order No. 22, approving a Certificate of Necessity to Import (CNI) fish of 60,000 metric tons up to Dec. 31, 2021.

The DA is also preparing to increase the CNI should the initial imports not be sufficient to curb fish inflation. This is part of the government’s proactive monitoring to ensure sufficient supply and stable prices during the closed fishing season.

To support vegetable production, the government will further promote urban agriculture and backyard gardening.

Under these initiatives, the government will provide raw material resources, machinery and equipment, training and technical assistance, resiliency projects, and funding support.

Source: https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1152800