Government moves to cushion impact of rising food prices

February 18, 2011 1:45 am 

MANILA, Feb. 17 — The Aquino administration is looking for ways to mitigate the impact of rising prices of grains in the world market amid a World Bank warning that global grains prices have risen to “dangerous levels” that could adversely affect third world economies like the Philippines.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte told a media briefing Thursday that the Aquino administration is aware and concerned about this global grains market behavior that is why agencies concerned are being mobilized to reduce the impact of rising world food prices.

“For one, we are looking at the extension of Executive Order 21, or the grant of most favored nation (MFN) treatment on imported wheat so as not to push up flour prices, which ultimately affect bread prices locally,” she said.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, she said has also informed the President that the Philippines is no longer the top importer of the vital staple because of efforts to source more of its stocks from local rice farmers.

World Bank president Robert Zoellick said global food prices had reached “dangerous levels” because governments are scared of a repeat of the Food Crisis of 2008, which sparked riots in countries from Egypt to Haiti.

Sajjid Haider Pasha, director for Hongkong-based grains trading and shipping agency Shunshing Group noted a “stockpiling and hoarding going on from Bangladesh, right through Indonesia and the Philippines as everyone is scared about food inflation.”

The Department of Energy is also being asked to study and coordinate closely with oil companies on petroleum prices and to make sure that oil price changes will be communicated well with the transport groups particularly on their effects on transport fares, Valte added. (PNA)

DCT/LOR/PCOO/ssc

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