Food nationalism crisis threat looms over Asia

Philippine President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr is turning Manila political tradition on its head by taking on the additional title of minister of agriculture.

It’s not that Marcos, who takes office on June 30, has vast farming experience or degrees in horticulture. But he realizes that the first crisis of his presidency is going to be the surging food prices that threaten to derail the economy’s expected 6% growth rate this year.

The poverty rate jumped to 23.7% of the nation’s 112 million people in 2021, up from 21.1% in 2018. And that increase pre-dated Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – which has sent costs of food, cooking oils and energy skyrocketing.

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