September 4, 2020 – Improving supply chain efficiency in agriculture is needed to ensure a low and stable inflation in the country amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and impending typhoons, the National Economic and Development Authority said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported today that the country’s headline inflation decelerated to 2.4 percent in August 2020 from 2.7 percent in July. This maintains the year-to-date inflation at 2.5 percent. Food inflation eased to 1.7 percent from last month’s 2.5 percent. Prices of rice also continued to go down (-1.1 percent).

NEDA attributes this lower inflation to the unhampered movement of food and other essential commodities across the country, as well as the benefits of the rice tariffication law, ensuring ample supply.

“As we continuously implement varying levels of community quarantines and localized lockdowns in the country, we need the government and the private sector to tap local agricultural produce and maximize the use of digital technologies to ensure stability in the supply chain,” Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said.

He also underscored the need to effectively manage the supply and allocation of agricultural commodities to ensure enough buffer stock, prevent wastage and spoilage, and minimize the losses of farmers. This includes facilitating the delivery of vegetables and other agricultural commodities to Metro Manila and other regions.

“Investments in cold storage facilities and innovations in food packaging and processing need to be increased as well, alongside the boosting of agricultural production, both in rural and urban areas, through the government’s Plant, Plant, Plant program,” Chua said.

To mitigate possible losses and to ensure quick response to possible disaster-prone areas, he also highlighted the need for preemptive preparations on production support, crop insurance, and other recovery programs, as La Niña is seen to come by late September or October.