Celia Reyes, of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), said yesterday (25 September) that the government should not allow the onslaught of El Nino (expected early in 2001) to affect food supply and force inflation.

Reyes commented that the agricultural sector has experienced a positive year to date and has managed to keep prices low despite inflation in the crude oil market. “Oil prices have been increasing faster than food prices…and the good performance of agriculture is actually responsible for the relatively lower inflation,” she said.

She warned however that, “I think what we should be watching out for now is the possible El Nino that might occur first quarter of next year, so … (the government should) take steps now to mitigate the impact.”