Self-sufficiency in farm products declining
The ability of the country to produce its basic agricultural commodities weakened in 2018, depending instead on imports to cover the supply shortfall for major crops, vegetables and meat, a government study showed.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) published a report on Monday titled “Food Sufficiency and Security,” indicating self-sufficiency and import dependency for 32 agricultural products.It showed that last year, the country’s self-sufficiency ratio (SSR) was down by an average of 2.96 percent while its import dependency ratio (IDR) climbed by an average of 22 percent.
The SSR shows how much of domestic consumption is supplied by local production, while the IDR indicates how much of local demand is covered by imports.The country was self-sufficient only in the following commodities: coconut, sugarcane, calamansi, papaya, pomelo, tomato, cabbage, eggplant, cassava and sweet potato. Of the remaining 22 commodities—mainly crops, livestock and fish—all noted an increase in importations except for duck, milk fish, tilapia and oysters.
The sudden spike in the country’s agricultural imports was due to President Duterte’s order last year to remove nontariff barriers and streamline procedures on the importation as a means to temper inflation and curb rising prices of agricultural products.
Staples such as rice and corn recorded a lower SSR in 2018 of 86.17 percent and 88.43 percent, respectively, from 93.44 percent and 94.34 percent from 2017.
Consequently, imported rice and corn supplied 13.83 percent and 11.57 percent, respectively, of domestic demand, up from 6.56 percent and 5.66 percent the previous year.
“The drop in the SSRs of both commodities was attributed to the decreasing local production (that had to be met by) a large increase in importation,” PSA said.
Increasing dependency on importation was noted in 2018 for coffee, garlic, onions, peanuts and mung beans. INQ
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