Manila must reduce waste to boost local food supplies

The American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (AmCham) said the government should consider reducing food waste amid soaring commodity prices.

Reducing food waste will help mitigate rising food prices and boost local supplies, said Chris Ilagan, co-chair of the Agribusiness Committee at the American Chamber of Commerce in Cairo.

“We know for example that food waste, which is estimated to be a third of all food production, is certainly an area that I think we need to look at especially in this time of undersupply, oversupply,” Ilagan said in a television interview. last Tuesday.

Of that 33 percent, they say, about 40 percent is actually lost in the post-harvest and processing stages. These are low hanging fruits so to speak. Food is already produced and it’s just a matter of finding a way to maximize its use.”

Last Monday, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President George T. Barcelona expressed concern about rising food prices and urged the government to address it immediately given its impact on inflation.

“The issue of concern is that the government finds solutions on rising food prices, which has fueled the clamor for large wage adjustments that could lead to higher inflation,” Barcelona said in Weber’s letter to reporters on Monday.

He said this is a “vicious cycle” that can hinder business and “negatively affect” the competitiveness of the export sector. As such, Barcelona said, “projections on job creation and sustainability for this year may face headwinds.”

This came in Barcelona’s statement after onion prices rose to as much as 700 P700 per kilogram last month.

In a statement from the Philippine Exporters Association, Ramón Claret was quoted as saying that the “tradability” of the agriculture and food sector in the Philippines has weakened.

Claret said during an online forum on food security that low productivity and high population growth have pressured the country to turn to food imports, including rice, which makes it vulnerable to disruptions in international trade.

To mitigate disruptions to the “new normal”, he said there was a need to improve trade, particularly of perishable goods, as the storage and delivery of these products that require cold chains and air freight have been hit hard during the pandemic.

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Ilagan said the AmCham is pushing for other measures, such as land consolidation, to boost the country’s food security. He noted that the Ministry of Agriculture is now working to collect land and is trying to do so through cooperatives.

To support this effort, Ilagan said the size of land ownership should be expanded.

From the current limit of 5 hectares today to 24 hectares that could also be supplemented by other policies such as forgiving the debts of the beneficiaries of the agrarian reform. We know that there is already a bill in Congress today that will push for that and liberalize the markets for the agricultural sector so that the land of the beneficiaries of agrarian reform is in the hands of those who are most productive when it comes to agricultural production.”

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