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Marcos prefers increasing rice, corn production over importation

The Marcos administration would rather increase the Philippines' production of rice and corn rather than import even more to stabilize the prices of food, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Tuesday.

In a news briefing after the first Cabinet meeting, Marcos said his administration would look to import as little as possible.

"Importation has been used as a price stabilization measure. I don’t think that that is the primary reason for the importation that we’ll do now," said Marcos, who has taken on the portfolio of the Department of Agriculture.

"As a matter of fact, we are going to try, no, I think we will do it in the Department of Agriculture to boost production of rice and corn in the coming two quarters. Hanggang Pasko until after Christmas," he added.

"The reasons because we prefer not to import, we would prefer to import as little as possible so we should increase our own production of rice and corn," Marcos said.

Marcos during his campaign said he wanted to bring down the price of rice to P20 a kilogram. He later said this was an aspiration.

He said the country needed to increase corn production to ensure a sufficient supply of feed for broiler production.

“So if we are able to increase production sufficiently, then hopefully the importations, it’s not really an import-substitution measure. It is a strategic food supply measure,” Marcos said.

Marcos said the supply of pork remained a problem due to the African Swine Fever (ASF), a problem the country has been facing since 2019.

“Because when it comes to pork, ‘yung ASF talaga natin hindi natin ma-control for various reasons. So we still have to import a lot of the pork products,” Marcos said.

Meanwhile, he said the country needed to keep importing chicken due to the lack in feeds.

“‘Yung production natin is not sufficient again. And that’s why this is really the reason, our production is not sufficient in palay, it’s not sufficient in corn, it’s not sufficient in livestock, it’s not sufficient in fisheries,” he said.

Marcos said this was the reason why he prioritized agriculture.

“Because we cannot a strong economy unless you have a foundation of a robust agricultural sector which assures food supply even in emergencies,” Marcos said.

“And that’s what we’re working towards. Yan ‘yung mga long-term. ‘Yung mga short term ‘yung sinasabi ko ‘yung increase production for the rest of the years, habulin natin ‘yung last planting for this year,” he added. —NB, GMA News