February 28, 2021 at 11:30 pm
Rio N. Araja
Amid the spike in the prices of meat and chicken and the African swine fever outbreak, Quezon City Councilor Mikey Belmonte has urged his colleagues to tackle the problem of food security.
He said strategic policies must be put in place to address food security problems and the insufficiency of meat supply and the ensuing price hike that significantly affected the vulnerable and marginalized segment of the population.
“Even with this pandemic serving as our backdrop, we are faced yet again with another challenge. Right at the beginning of 2021, each and every household has had to contend, on a daily basis, with the impact of rising prices of basic food commodities – further placing stress in the already limited household budgets,” he said.
Citing data from the National Statistics Authority as of January, he said the total swine inventory was approximately 9.72 million heads, which was 24.1 percent below last year’s same period level of 12.8 million heads.
Consequently, the decrease in supply coupled with high consumer demand for meat products has led to a 60 percent price increase from P250 to 400 per kilo or pork meat.
“In the city level, we commend the immediate response of the city mayor to this pressing issue by ensuring that while a price cap is in place, affected vendors would be provided assistance for them to be able to cope and sustain their operations,” the District 2 councilor said.
“I believe that food security concerns are complex, somehow comparable to our national concerns with rice. Resorting to importation alone, through increasing minimum access volume, might be able to immediately improve supply and lower the price of pork in the short term. However, there have also been concerns to long-term potential negative impacts to hog raisers. While we need [to] exert all effort to ensure access and affordability of pork and other quality food, we also need to ensure that we minimize potential unforeseen negative impacts,” he said.