The Iloilo provincial government is working hard to boost the agriculture industry to help ease the impact of inflation.

“As much as we can, we help agriculture so that we can address the supply side but there are other factors that are beyond our control, especially those that are coming from the international market,” Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said in a media conference Wednesday, March 20.

Iloilo province registered a 2.1 percent inflation rate in February, the lowest among all the provinces and highly urbanized cities of Western Visayas.

Defensor said the rate is significant, especially since the province registered 1.2 percent in January.

He, however, stressed that February’s inflation rate was also affected by the international market and supply.

Contributing to the uptrend inflation are housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels; food and non-alcoholic beverages; and a slower decline in transport.

Electricity; cereals and cereal products, meat and other parts of slaughtered animals, particularly pork; and fuels are among the factors that accelerated the inflation.

Defensor said the latest inventory showed an increase in hog population in the province.

The provincial government is also preparing to embark on sentineling in line with its recovery efforts from African swine fever.

Seven municipalities progressed to pink from the previous red or infected zone, including Batad, Sta. Barbara, San Miguel, Oton,New Lucena, Barotac Viejo, and Banate.

The provincial government is also mulling the idea of embarking on swine dispersal to assist farmers affected by the El Niño phenomenon.

Other interventions of the province are embedded in the program of the provincial agriculture office.

Meanwhile, the headline inflation in Western Visayas at 2.7 remains lower when compared with 10.8 percent in the same period last year, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.Perla Lena/PNA