SENATOR Imee Marcos has called on local government units to revive the “simple but underutilized solution” of home gardening, as high prices diminish the food budgets of low-income households.
“There’s no shortage of seeds waiting to be sown, only people willing to get things done,” Marcos said.
“Whether plot-based or pot-based, growing vegetables and crops typical in home-cooked meals, like malunggay (moringa) , cabbage, petchay, sitaw (string beans), tomatoes, and potatoes, is so easy to do,” Marcos said.
“Since we’re for the most part homebound amid this pandemic, home gardening will make productive use of our time and help stretch our marketing budget to include enough meat,” Marcos added.
Prices of pork, beef, chicken, fish and vegetables at various wet markets in Metro Manila have spiked since November, in the aftermath of typhoons, the growing spread of African swine fever (ASF) among hog raisers, and the present threat of leaf-wilting frost on vegetable production up north.
Pork now costs P320 to P330 per kilo, from P280 to P 320 two months earlier; chicken at P160 to P170, from P120 to P160; and beef at P350 to P380, from P340 to P370.
Marcos predicts pork prices may increase further, citing hog raisers’ concerns that ASF is spreading in Leyte, South Cotabato and some parts of Davao.
Marcos also called for stricter inspections of imported pork that hog raisers suspect of having brought ASF into the country, after the Department of Agriculture (DA) said it planned to triple imports from a minimum access volume of 54,000 metric tons.
“Fish is no longer a poor man’s food,” Marcos added, citing the average cost of galunggong at P240 per kilo, from only P200 in November. Bangus, which used to cost P120 to P150 per kilo, now sells for P200 to P220.
The erratic prices of vegetables are also making housewives cut back on ingredients of basic home-cooked meals, Marcos said, citing that garlic and onions now cost P100 per kilo, from only P70 to P80 in November. Potatoes, which used to sell for P50 per kilo, now cost P70.
“The DA also needs to ramp up its various programs to help both food producers and consumers to ensure food security like the ‘Plant, Plant, Plant, Program (4P’s) and the discounted pricing offered by the ‘Mobile Palengke’ and ‘Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita’,” Marcos added.
Publication Source : People’s Tonight