Farmers and consumers demand DA to lower food prices and address record-high food inflation

While majority of Filipinos are reeling from sky-high prices of food and commodities, President and agriculture secretary Bongbong Marcos Jr. is living the jet-setter life. Marcos Jr. slipped to Switzerland yesterday along with a 70-person delegation. This is Marcos Jr’s 8th trip abroad. The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), consumer groups and food security advocates picketed outside the Department of Agriculture national office today to protest the record-high food inflation. 

According to farmers group KMP, Marcos Jr. and the Department of Agriculture will have to face the public’s wrath for doing a very sloppy job in lowering food prices. “While farmers and consumers demand effective short-term and long-term solutions to the problem of expensive food prices, DA and the economic managers can only think of importation as a solution to high costs. Mauuna pang maging Php20 ang isang itlog kaysa sa isang kilo ng bigas,” the group said, referring to Marcos Jr’s campaign promise to bring down rice prices to P20 per kilo. 

Current food prices are exorbitant and unaffordable for most Filipinos. Based on market price monitors, prices of onion still range from a high P400 to P550 per kilo in local markets. Sugar prices increased anew to more than P110 per kilo. Prices of egg range from P8-P10 per piece while prices of vegetables, meat, poultry, and other foodstuff remain high. 

The groups are also denouncing the DA’s move to import 21,060 metric tons of onions, 64,050 metric tons of refined sugar, and 12,417 metric tons of rice. “Solusyon ng tamad ang importasyon. Ang dapat palakasin ang lokal na produksyon ng pagkain, hindi importasyon.”

“May sapat na suplay ng sibuyas sa bansa. Tumaas ng labis-labis ang presyo nito dahil hinayaan ng rehimeng Marcos Jr. na umiral ang kartel na may pakana sa hoarding, profiteering at manipulasyon sa presyo at suplay ng sibuyas. Dagdag pa rito ang lansakang ismagling ng sibuyas at iba pang gulay mula Tsina na pumapatay sa mga lokal na magsasaka.” 

“Malawakang pandaraya sa masang konsyumer ang mataas na presyo ng sibuyas kahit pa nasa kasagsagan ng anihan. Labis-labis na tubo ang kinikita ng malalaking traders, importers, pati na mga smugglers dahil sa napakamahal na presyo ng sibuyas. Sila rin mismo ang nagkokontrol at nagmamanipula sa suplay at presyo ng sibuyas mula sa farmgate hanggang sa retail.”

“Kung nabigyan sana ng gobyerno ng signipikanteng agricultural subsidies at iba pang suporta ang onion growers gaya ng akses sa mga palengke, libre at pampublikong cold storage facilities, atbp., naibsan sana ang pagsasamantala ng kartel sa sibuyas,” the group concluded. 

KMP said they will continue opposing DA’s importation policies and demand for higher agricultural subsidies for farmers and food producers. ### 

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