KMP urges Department of Agriculture to address rising food prices in PH

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The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) has called on the Department of Agriculture (DA) to take action on the continuing increase in food prices across the Philippines.

The group highlighted that the prices of major food products such as rice, vegetables, pork, chicken, and fish have increased in recent days, despite the National Economic Development Authority’s (NEDA) claim that inflation is on a downtrend.

The KMP has warned that the food crisis and inflation could worsen in the coming months, and stated that the DA has the primary responsibility of ensuring that rice and other foods are affordable in the country. The organization has criticized the DA’s “pro-importation policies” and demanded genuine political will from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in addressing the crisis.

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The KMP has also expressed support for the proposed Rice Industry Development Act (RIDA), House Bill No. 405, which it believes would solve the rice shortage in the country. The bill was originally filed by the Makabayan bloc under the Anakpawis party list in 2018 and was refiled by the Gabriela party list in 2022.

RIDA aims to achieve food security by supporting farmers, developing infrastructure, and implementing rules that protect farms, farmers, and the entire industry. The bill also aims to develop the livelihoods of farmers and those living in poverty by providing support in grain prices and involving them in decision-making processes. The KMP statement said that RIDA would eventually allow farmers to lead the facilities vital in production.

The Philippines has been experiencing inflation since 2018, which has been attributed to the global economic slowdown, rising oil prices, and natural disasters.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected the country’s economy, particularly its agricultural sector, which accounts for nearly a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The lockdowns and restrictions on movement have disrupted the supply chains, affecting the production and distribution of food and other essential goods.

The Philippine government has implemented measures to address the rising food prices, such as the implementation of price ceilings and the importation of agricultural products. However, these measures have been criticized by farmers and agricultural groups, who claim that they only benefit the traders and middlemen and do not address the root causes of the problem.

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