President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said Thursday that bringing down rice prices to around P20 per kilo is "the aspiration" as he bared plans on how to secure the country's food supply in light of warnings of a looming crisis.
Bringing down the price of the staple grain to P20 to P30 per kilo was among the agriculture programs bared by Marcos Jr. during his campaign, and became a hot topic after his election victory became clear.
"That's the aspiration. Ibubuhay natin yung value chain... We have to really fix our value chain," he said in an interview with select reporters.
"If the aspiration is P20, I don't know, if we work very hard baka maabot natin 'yun," he said noting that "new technologies" are needed to entice the youth to work in the agriculture industry.
Once he assumes office, Marcos Jr. said his government would seek agreements with other countries for the lower cost of importing farm implements such as fertilizers to increase local food production.
"We have to bring down the price of inputs if we are going to increase production. We really have to find new ways of growing food," he said.
Marcos made the remark days after the Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc warned of a "looming food crisis" due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fallout of the Russia-Ukraine war.
"We have to just increase production and baka mapilitan pa rin tayo mag-import. The importation was forced on us because the problem is the production was not sufficient...To keep the prices down, we have to import and nasa krisis tayo so we may have to continue to do that," Marcos said.
The possibility to buy supplies in bulk at a lower cost and deferred payment options are among the scenarios being considered, he added.
The president-elect has yet to announce his pick for agriculture secretary.