The Philippine government continues to strengthen its policies to support the livestock industry and reduce food prices, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

As reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) today, the country’s headline inflation rate continued its downward trend as it further eased to 3.0 percent in January 2022 from 3.2 percent in December 2021.

Non-food inflation slightly declined to 3.8 percent in January from 3.9 percent in December. Meanwhile, food inflation remained at 1.6 percent in January, as the slower inflation in meat was offset by the faster inflation in corn.

Meat inflation fell to 4.3 percent in January from 8.7 percent in December, as inflation for all meat products decreased. In particular, pork inflation decreased to 6.2 percent from 10.8 percent.

On the other hand, corn inflation significantly increased to 27.7 percent in January from an already high 16.5 percent in December. This is an emerging issue that underscores the need to promote a more comprehensive reform program for the whole livestock value chain.

“While we move for the extension of Executive Order Nos. 133 and 134 to increase local supply and ensure regular unloading of stocks, we also call for the timely passage of the proposed Livestock Development and Competitiveness (LDC) Bill to boost the productivity of the livestock sector and value chain,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said.

Among the major provisions of the LDC Bill is the updating of the corn industry roadmap, along with the establishment of “competitiveness enhancement funds” for the components of the livestock value chain. This can cover corn farmers. As corn is used as animal feeds for livestock, poultry, and fish, this can also help address fish inflation, which remains elevated at 6.2 percent in January.

“We are taking a more proactive approach in promoting the development and competitiveness of corn. We are doing this to help ease prices of sources of protein such as meat and fish, which are still among the top drivers of our country’s overall inflation,” Chua said.

The PSA rebases the inflation series around every six years. As scheduled, starting January 2022, the inflation series is rebased to 2018 from 2012. This ensures that inflation captures the most relevant basket of goods and services which better reflect the consumption pattern of the average Filipino household. Based on the 2018 inflation series, full-year 2021 inflation was 3.9 percent, which lies within the target range of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.