The national government is eyeing to impose a price cap on pork amid rising food prices, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said yesterday.
In an interview over DzBB, Nograles, chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger, said the Department of Agriculture is currently studying the possibility of imposing stricter price measures in public markets.
“We are also looking at imposing price cap for prices of pork. This is being studied by the Department of Agriculture. Anyway, we are still under a state of public health emergency,” Nograles, who will be in Bacolod City today for the “McDo Kindness Kitchen” turnover of 2,000 meals, starting 11 a.m. at the Bacolod Government Center lobby with Mayor Evelio Leonardia, said.
The last time a price freeze was imposed was in November, following the declaration of a state of calamity in Luzon in the wake of Typhoon Ulysses.
Besides Covid-19 pandemic, Nograles admitted that the government is also facing the challenge of addressing the African swine fever (ASF) that continues to pull down pork supply in the country while jacking up its prices.
“There are really many challenges there because of ASF but the Department of Agriculture has been taking steps even before the pandemic,” he said.
Nograles said the DA has encouraged shipping pork from ASF-free areas in the Visayas and Mindanao to areas experiencing high inflation.
To address the soaring prices of vegetables, Nograles said there is also a need to increase accessibility and supply by boosting the campaign to promote community gardening and urban gardening.
REDUCE HUNGER, UNEMPLOYMENT
Meanwhile, Nograles emphasized the need to prioritize programs to reduce the incidence of hunger by half this year.
A recent Social Weather Stations survey showed that families who experienced involuntary hunger eased to 16 percent in November 2020 from the record-high of 30.7 reported in September 2020.
“Our target is to bring the hunger incidence rate back to 8 percent or 8.7, 8.8 percent because we were able to do this in the last quarter of 2019 before Covid,” he said.
Nograles said the National Food Policy will help ensure food security in the country by supporting farmers and fisherfolk through increasing their productivity and income.
He also noted that it was just as important to lower the country’s current unemployment rate.
“Because many of our citizens lost their jobs, our latest numbers show that our unemployment rate is at 8.7 percent as of October 2020 and if you compare that to October 2019 when we didn’t have Covid in our country, our unemployment rate was 4.6 percent,” he said.*PNA