Cebu City eyes agribusiness, roads to ensure food security

Cebu City eyes agribusiness, roads to ensure food security

THE holding of a Food Security Summit, building of farm-to-market roads, creation of research committees and venturing into agro-industrial enterprises are only some of the measures that the Cebu City Government will implement to combat the effects of inflation, which has raised the prices of basic commodities.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, in a statement on Friday, March 24, 2023, said the City has to address the challenge now, especially with the concern involving the hog industry.

Rama said he has to lay down plans to contain the effects of inflation and the African swine fever (ASF) threat before prices of goods, especially of pork products, shoot up.

“This comes as we face and address the challenges of our hog industry. If we cannot contain it, supply of pork products may be substantially reduced when demand is increasing,” he said.

Last Monday, the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Bureau of Animal Industry announced that ASF had been detected in pigs in Cebu City, Liloan, Sibonga, Tuburan, and Bogo City. Earlier in the month, the DA said it had also detected the highly contagious virus in pigs in a slaughterhouse in Carcar City.

The February 2023 report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) shows that the inflation rate in Cebu City accelerated to 5.7 percent in February from 4.5 percent in January.

The inflation rate measures the rate of change in the prices of a fixed basket of goods bought by a typical consumer, including food, transportation, shelter, utilities, clothing, medical care and entertainment, as computed from the consumer price index or CPI.

Inflation has risen worldwide after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, beginning on Feb. 24, 2022, caused food and energy prices to soar amid supply chain disruptions due in part to Western sanctions imposed in a bid to curb Russia’s aggression.

Russia is a major supplier of oil, gas and fertilizer to the world, while Ukraine is a major producer of wheat and corn.

The mayor said he wants to avoid the situation of not having enough supply when the time comes that demand for goods, especially of pork, goes up.

Rama said the Food Security Summit needs to happen “soon” with the participation of producers from backyard farms and agro-industries so the City can come up with a Food Security Master Plan that would serve as the foundation to ensure sustainability of food supply and stable prices.

Rama also ordered the creation of a research committee to study and address the gaps between the supply and demand.

The members of the committee will still be identified, and Rama emphasized he wants former councilor Alvin Dizon to be part of the group considering the ordinances and measures that Dizon proposed during the previous Council.

The City will also conduct price monitoring in the city’s markets, with Rama warning to go after “price speculators, hoarders and opportunist traders.”

Rama said there should be a continuous supply of food and other goods from the neighboring islands, as well as from the province.

The City will also start to identify unused lots in the city to convert into agro-tourism and agro-industrial ventures through public-private partnerships.

Rama said the City is also heading in the direction of building farm-to-market roads to lessen the travel time in going to and from the upland barangays.

Rama though has yet to specify the target date or timeline for these plans.


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