Marcos on imminent food crisis: Increase production, continue importation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 27) — To address the looming food crisis, president-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said the country must increase production and continue importation.

"We have to just increase production and baka mapilitan pa rin tayong mag-import [we may still be forced to import]," Marcos said in a press briefing with select media on Thursday. "The importation was forced on us, eh, because the problem is the production was not sufficient."

"Since the production is not efficient, to keep the prices down to an affordable level, we have to import and nasa crisis tayo (we're in a crisis), we're in an emergency situation, we may have to continue to do that," he added.

However, aside from import substitution, Marcos stressed that the government must help the agriculture sector.

"In the immediate future, 'yung mga inputs kailangan nating tingnan, what can the government do to support the inputs," he said.

Marcos said the biggest component in agriculture is the Urea, which is a type of fertilizer and feed supplement not everyone can afford. He stressed that the prices of inputs should be brought down in order to help agricultural workers increase production.

He added that new ways of growing food should be discovered, including finding new methods to manage livestock, and fisheries both coastal and in-land.

Aside from supporting the farmers, Marcos stated that the immediate solution that he can do is to find sourcing of the inputs, which will be imported.

"We have to support the farmers," he said. "The problems with the inputs now, we cannot change immediately."

"But immediately, what we can do, as I said, is to find sourcing of the inputs that again, we would have to import," he added. "It hurts to say it, it hurts to think about it, but napabayaan talaga ang agri, eh (agriculture was really left out)."

Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said his department is ready to face the food crisis, adding that there is a "directional plan to handle these big challenges."

He also asked Filipinos to do their part in ensuring a stable food supply before the crisis hits.