Gov't readies measures to keep commodity prices stable | Inquirer Business
Amid anticipated EL Niño impact on agriculture

Gov’t readies measures to keep commodity prices stable

/ 03:38 PM February 06, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The National Economic Development Authority (Neda) assured the public on Tuesday that the government would continue closely monitoring the prices of basic commodities as the El Niño phenomenon is anticipated to affect several areas in the country.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the country’s inflation rate slowed to 2.8 percent in January 2024 from 3.9 percent in December 2023.

However, during the same period, rice inflation accelerated to 22.6 percent from 19.6 percent in December as the effects of the dry spell were felt across the Philippines.


READ: PH inflation slowed to 2.8% in January


This means that the price of the staple had been increasing at a much faster rate.

In response, Neda Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement that the Inter-Agency Committee on Inflation and Market Outlook will closely monitor the price of the staple grain and other key goods to help make policy recommendations aimed at keeping the prices stable.

The inter-agency committee is co-chaired by the Neda and the Department of Finance.

“We will introduce stop-gap measures, as necessary, such as allowing further imports of key commodities until our supply stabilizes at prices affordable to consumers while ensuring remunerative prices for local producers,” Balisacan further said, enumerating the steps the government takes to ensure the stability of supply and prices of goods.

The Neda chief also said that the rice deal which the country recently inked with Vietnam will be providing the country a continuous supply of 1.5 million to 2 million metric tons of rice yearly.

This, along with the extended tariff cuts on pork, corn, and rice, Balisacan said, will help stabilize the staple grain’s prices in local markets.


READ: El Niño impact: Western Visayas, Zambo Peninsula farmers lose over P109M

El Niño

Based on the Department of Agriculture’s latest El Niño bulletin issued in late January, some 2,602 farmers from Western Visayas and Zamboanga Peninsula have been adversely affected by the dry spell.

The bulletin said the farmers have lost at least P109.44 million in rice output.

Meanwhile, state meteorologists forecast a strong El Niño to be felt across the country and is expected to last until May.

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As of Feb 6, the water levels in all of the major dams in Luzon, which supply water and irrigation to agricultural areas, have also been consistently slipping below their normal high levels.

TAGS: Agriculture, El Niño phenomenon, production

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