Daily Tribune (Philippines)

Groups seek gov’t aid over global woe

We have to ask the government and the private sector to work together in securing supply

- BY MARIA ROMERO @tribunephl_mbr

Industry players are urging the Department of Agricultur­e (DA) to tap the private sector for assistance in addressing supply shortages and the rising cost of raw materials amid the worsening tension between Russia and Ukraine.

At a virtual briefing on Monday, Tugon Kabuhayan Co-convenor Norberto Chingcuanc­o said the private sector is ready to work with the government to address the adverse effects of the price hike to both producers and consumers.

“We have to ask the government and the private sector to work together in securing supply. The government must start to negotiate to secure supply and ingredient­s,” Chingcuanc­o told reporters.

Tugon Kabuhayan reiterated that if the issue remains unresolved, it will result in higher prices of agricultur­al products.

“If we don’t act fast, we will have a shortage of feeds. Less feeds means less production in the animal and aquacultur­e industries. Our country will once again resort to the importatio­n of fish and meat. We want to cushion the impact of the Russian-Ukraine war on our industries,” it said.

Particular­ly, the swine industry saw a 130 percent price increase in soya. Soya is the top three ingredient­s in feed aside from yellow corn and wheat. Corn prices in the US alone went up by 15 percent over the weekend.

The group likewise pointed out that the increase in the price of wheat — a primary ingredient in the production of bread and other food items, including animal feeds — will eventually affect the market.

US traditiona­l source

The Philippine­s usually import these raw materials from the United States, Australia, China, Canada including European countries like Russia and Ukraine. The country also imports some from Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand.

Meanwhile, Oversea Feeds Corporatio­n president Carlos Co pointed out that exporters don’t want to ship raw materials right now as they are in a wait-and-see game as developmen­t on the Russia-Ukraine conflict unfolds.

“The question now is not to prevent the increase in prices because we cannot do anything about the war in Ukraine, but how to temper the problem,” Co said.

“Exporters don’t want to ship raw materials right now. They are waiting to see what will happen. This will lead to feed ingredient­s getting more expensive, or go out of stock altogether,” he added.

The government must start to negotiate to secure supply and ingredient­s.

On Monday, Agricultur­e Secretary William Dar said President Rodrigo Duterte approved the increase of fertilizer subsidy to P20 billion from the previous P12 billion.

Dar said the additional budget will mitigate and cushion the effects of the global economic challenges compounded by the Russia-Ukraine crisis while boosting local food production.

The budget will be sourced from the DA’s P24-billion flagship “Plant, Plant, Plant” program.

The remaining P4 billion, on the other hand, will be equally allocated to urban and peri-urban agricultur­e, local feed production, aquacultur­e and maricultur­e fisheries, and food mobilizati­on.

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