Marcos eyes increasing production of rice, corn; import ‘as little as possible’

Published July 5, 2022, 8:18 PM

by Jel Santos

As the prices of food continue to go up, President and Agriculture Secretary Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. said the country will increase its production of rice and corn as his administration prefers such over importation.

(Manila Bulletin File Photo)

During a media briefing, he said the “little” importation that the country will do under his administration is not a price stabilization measure, but rather, a strategic food supply measure.

“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,” Marcos said on Tuesday, July 5.

“Again, because there are several reasons for that. The reasons because we prefer not to import. We would prefer to import as little as possible,” he added.

Corn, according to Marcos, has been very important to the country as it will be used to substitute for feed wheat.

“Because the feed wheat that we were importing, na-cut off ang supply natin (our supply was cut off) so we have to substitute it with corn,” he explained.

“This season, the corn growers were able to come together and provide sufficient feed for the broiler production. But we still have to increase production of corn to ensure that supply because there’s also — there’s corn for food and there’s corn for feed.”

When it comes to the importation of pork, Marcos said the country still needs to “import a lot” of pork products because of the effects of the African Swine Fever or ASF.

Due to the lack of feed production, the President said the country will also have to import chicken products.

“Nagkakaproblema na naman tayo sa food supply nung mga — ‘yung production natin is not sufficient again (We again encountered a problem on food supply—our production is insufficient),” he said.

“And that’s why, that’s why this is really the reason —if you look at it, our production is not sufficient in palay (rice), it’s not sufficient in corn, it’s not sufficient in livestock, it’s not sufficient in fisheries.”

Marcos reiterated why it is very important to strengthen the country’s agriculture sector, saying his administration cannot build a strong economy unless it has a robust agricultural sector.

“That is why I made agriculture the single, the highest priority of everything that we are doing.”

In his campaign, it can be recalled that Marcos said he wanted to bring down the price of rice to P20 per kilo.