Other Government Release

National Economic and Development Authority

Ensuring food security is government’s top priority—NEDA

As El Niño and global disruptions exert upward pressure on food prices, and La Niña threatens to compound the strain on the country’s food supply, the government has taken decisive action and prioritized measures to mitigate the effects of these extreme weather challenges, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan responded to the recent Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announcement that the country’s inflation rate increased to 3.8 percent in April 2024 from 3.7 percent in March 2024. While this increase remains within the government’s target range, it underscores the need for vigilance.

April witnessed a surge in food inflation, rising to 6.3 percent from the previous month’s 5.7 percent. Key contributors include vegetables (up by 4.3%), fish (0.4%), and ready-made products (4.8%).

Meanwhile, rice—a staple in Filipino households—recorded a lower inflation rate of 23.9 percent in April, down from 24.4 percent in March.
Despite this decline, rice remains the primary driver of inflation, accounting for 2.1 percentage points.

“We are taking comprehensive measures to ensure food security amid geopolitical concerns and weather patterns worsened by climate change.
The government’s major strategies aim to increase productivity, build the resilience of the agriculture sector, and improve the efficiency of food systems,” said Balisacan.

This thrust aligns with the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, emphasizing strategies and reforms to modernize the country’s agricultural and agribusiness sector. Last April 30, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. signed Executive Order (EO) No. 59 to expedite the implementation of the country’s Infrastructure Flagship Projects (IFPs). Several IFPs are intended to improve the connectivity of the country’s agriculture sector
to the market, thus reducing transport costs.

“Meanwhile, we must augment local production during shortages to ensure an adequate food supply at affordable prices for all Filipinos.
Food insecurity extends beyond economic strain—it directly impacts the well-being of all Filipinos. Failing to augment local production during shortages perpetuates poverty and exacerbates vulnerability,” said Balisacan.

EO 59 complements the directives under Administrative Order No. 20. Among others, AO 20 reconstituted a surveillance team consisting of the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Bureau of Customs, the Philippine Competition Commission, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Justice, National Bureau of Investigation, and the Philippine National Police. This team oversees the importation and distribution of agricultural products, prevents price manipulation, and addresses other forms of unfair or anti-competitive commercial practices.

Balisacan reaffirms the Marcos Administration’s unwavering commitment. “We prioritize food security, economic growth, and the welfare of our producers and consumers,” he asserts. “Our actions aim to boost local production and prepare for any challenges in food supply and price upticks,” he added.