The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) on Thursday denounced the country’s latest inflation print, as it said the latest figures show that imports did not address high prices.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) earlier on Wednesday reported headline inflation at 7.6% in March, slower than the 8.6% recorded in February. Prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages grew by 9.3%.
Core inflation which excludes selected food and energy items, however, climbed to 8.0% or the highest since March 1999’s 8.1%.
“Time ang again, we have said that importations would not ‘tame high prices,’ across commodities. And we have been proven right,” SINAG said in a statement.
“Precisely dahil umasa na lang tayo sa (because we relied on) imports, especially the last three years, hindi natugunan ‘yung pagtulong sa (there was no assistance for) local rice farmers in terms of reducing their cost of producing palay,” it added.
The farmers' group noted that higher imports have also been recorded in pork, chicken, sugar, fish products, and onions, but only importers and traders have benefited.
“Not even the poor consumers ang nakinabang (benefitted); no less than NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) acknowledged that prices of rice, pork, fish, and chicken did not decline,” it said in a mix of English and Filipino.
For its part, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has maintained that the country needs the imports, and the arrival will not coincide with the harvest season so as not to affect the local industry.
GMA News Online has sought comment from Malacañang as regards SINAG's statement on the imports. —NB, GMA Integrated News