Gov’t economists propose local measures vs inflation

Government economists in the Davao Region have pushed for local measures to curb inflation especially on basic commodities.

In a press conference at the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-Regional Development Council XI Center, Maria Lourdes D. Lim, NEDA regional director, said local steps, both long-term and short-term, should be taken to address the increases in prices of basic commodities.
Among the key commodities whose inflation need to be addressed is fish as the region can only produce about 10% of its requirements, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) reported and that inflation rate for August was at 14.4%.
Lim said to address this, the region, particularly Davao Oriental, should focus on tuna production, the province being “the Tuna Highway in the region.”
There have been steps being implemented also to increase production, among them the resolution of BFAR and the Department of Agriculture for the conservation of small pelagic fishes in the Davao Gulf to combat pollution.
The fish agency has also been implementing a fishing ban from June in the municipal waters of the gulf.
Another plan, said Lim, is to expand the Daliao fish port.
On rice, government data showed that although palay production rose by 17.5% to 232,135 metric tons this year, the region can only supply 47% of its needs as other suppliers are Bukidnon and the Cotabato provinces.
Among the short-term steps that are to be taken is asking the National Food Authority to increase allocation of imported rice for the region.
Long-term solutions include more irrigation systems, technological and technical improvements, as well as looking into the impact of land conversion of farms.
The regional economists also support the proposed rice tariffication bill, a proposal which will impose tariff on the commodity instead of volume quota.
There is also a need for government and farmer groups to form a monitoring team to monitor the rice smuggling activities.
On chicken, which exhibited the highest inflation rate in the region at 9.4% in August, Lim said among the needed steps is find ways of bridging the gap between the farmers and the buyers by eliminating the middle persons.
“Prices of chicken in the region also went up because of the high demand in Luzon as the Mindanao was not affected by the Avian influenza which hit the Luzon,” said Lim.
On sugar, the Agriculture department and the Sugar Regulatory Administration must increase allocation of imported sugar to the region.
On vegetables, the economists expected that prices will be stable after the typhoon season.

Posted in Business