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Marcos targets to boost agricultural growth amid easing inflation 

By: Nestor Corrales - | January 06,2024 - 09:58 AM

President Bongbong Marcos Jr. has pledged to enhance agricultural and food production as the country’s inflation dropped to 3.9 percent in December 2023.

He expressed satisfaction with the Philippine Statistics Authority’s report, noting the decrease from 4.1 percent in November 2023, resulting in a yearly average inflation rate of 6.0 percent.

In a statement posted on his official X (formerly Twitter) account, Marcos said “the government continues to work hard to improve the condition of our economy.”

“This new year, we will further strengthen programs for agriculture, and focus on measures to keep the prices of food and other basic commodities affordable,” he added.

In a statement, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said the government would continuously monitor prices and inflation risks. Neda added it will also implement measures to protect the purchasing power of Filipino households.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan pointed out the importance of Executive Order No. 50, which extended the reduced tariff rates on rice, corn and meat products for one more year “to ensure sufficient food supply for Filipinos and prevent spikes in prices of these commodities.”

El Niño threat

In December, the Department of Science and Technology issued a warning that 65 provinces in the Philippines may experience long dry spells and drought from February to May this year due to the effects of a stronger El Niño phenomenon.

Balisacan earlier said El Niño will directly affect agricultural production. Mitigation measures were laid out such as growing plants that do not require lots of water and would need lesser time to harvest.

READ MORE: PH inflation slows further, moves closer to target

In a speech last year, the President said there could be no economic growth without a productive agriculture sector.

“We have seen that no matter what we do to improve the economy, if we do not fix agriculture, we will not be able to improve and strengthen our economy,” he said.

Marcos had also ordered agriculture officials to prioritize farm-to-market roads. He also vowed to improve rice production in the country and bring down the price of rice to P20 a kilo.

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TAGS: agriculture, inflation

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