DA to investigate alleged diversion, overpricing of pork supply

Marje Pelayo   •   February 16, 2021   •   411

MANILA, Philippines — Reports have reached the Department of Agriculture (DA) that hog supplies from Mindanao supposed to be delivered to markets in Metro Manila are being diverted to other provinces.

This prompted the DA to conduct an investigation and identify traders who are not following the conditions imposed by the department.

“Paiimbestigahan natin ang nagtataas ng presyo kasi pinaka importante ang kundisyon ni Secretary (Dar),” explained DA USsec. Ernesto Gonzales.

“Iyong bibigyan ng subsidy dapat mag comply sa ating price cap at dapat din ay NCR ang bagsak ng baboy hindi sa labas ng NCR,” he added.

But traders are also having a hard time finding hogs with low farm gate prices.

The Manila Meat Dealers Association is requesting for a price ceiling on farm gate prices so that they would be able to sell it to vendors at a lower price.

“Dalawang araw akong hindi nakahakot kasi wala akong makunang mababa ang presyo nagtaasan sila lahat,” said the group’s representative Ricardo Chan.

“Pangalawa pa yung mga karatig-bayan yun ang kalaban namin mas mataas ang offer nila kasi hindi sila kasali sa price ceiling,” he added.

Meanwhile, officials of the DA and the local government of caloocan city inspected the pork vendors in Maypajo market.

They were found to be compliant of the P270/kilogram and P300/kilogram price ceiling for kasim and liempo respectively.

But they are still complaining of not earning enough due to the high price they get from traders.

“Medyo mabigat kasi di namin kaya ang presyo tsaka magkano lang ang patong namin dyan. pero wala din kaming magagawa kaya sumusunod lang kami sa reglamento nila,” said pork retailer Rene Beñas.

“Lugi kami dahil sa P250/kg. ang puhunan tapos benta namin P270/kg hanggang P300/kg dapat mga P220/kg man lang para ok na sa P270/kg. na benta,” added Jimmy Hernandez, also a pork vendor.

Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan said that they are about to pass a resolution to waive the vendors’ stall fee, like what they did last year when the pandemic started.

“Sinusuportahan namin sila. ang totoo libre nga yung renta nila. simula noong pandemya hanggang June 2021 libre,” Malapitan explained.

The DA said more shipments of hogs from Mindanao are coming this week.

“Konting tiis nalang siyempre tatamaan dyan yung trader. konting sakripisyo lang hanggang maibabalik na natin sa tama (yung presyo),” noted Jerry Pelayo, DA’s National Coordinator for LGU. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DA to release SRP on pork next week

Marje Pelayo   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to release a new suggested retail price (SRP) on pork next week alongside the implementation of increased tariff.

“We will have a new SRP based on this EO that will set the new tariffs,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.

The official added that consumers will surely benefit from the SRP and the supply of pork will be replenished through importation.

Dar added that this is just among the solutions of the government to address the impact of African Swine Fever (ASF) on the local hog industry.

Coinciding with this measure is the ingoing repopulation of hogs.

Meanwhile, the price of pork in major markets in Metro Manila remains at P340 to P400 per kilogram.

Based on the estimate of the Meat Importers and Traders Association (MITA), they can still supply pork at P320 per kilogram retail price.

This is much lower than locally produced meat even after the government’s newly imposed tariff on pork.

“Ngayon pagtaas uli ng 5% siguro baka mga P315/kg or P320/kg. Baka dyan po babagsak ang bagong SRP,” said MITA president Jess Cham.

But for the group, Samahan ng Industriyang Agrikultura (SINAG), the price of imported pork should drop further because the cost of importation is way cheaper.

The group argued that the government is losing about P13 billion on tariff thus it is just for consumers to enjoy lower price of pork meat.

“Iyong suggested retail price ng imported ay gawing P200 para at least ay pumunta doon sa consumer yung nawala na taripa,” said SINAG president Rosendo So said.

Currently, DA’s SRP on imported pork ranges from P270 per kilogram to P350 per kilogram. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Meat dealers want ‘nationwide price ceiling’ on pork

Marje Pelayo   •   April 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Meat dealers are urging the government to re-impose a price ceiling on pork, this time one that will cover the entire country, not just the National Capital Region (NCR).

The price ceiling imposed by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Metro Manila lapsed on Thursday (April 8).

The price of pork spiked since late last year due to the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) prompting the DA to implement a price ceiling of P270 to P350 pesos per kilogram of pork.

But now that the price ceiling has lapsed and there is no suggested retail price (SRP) on pork, prices are expected to shoot up to as high as P400 per kilogram.

Thus, the Manila Meat Dealers Association appeals to the DA to impose another price ceiling, if not in the entire country, at least in Luzon.

“Iyan lang po talaga ang nakikita naming paraan, magkaroon ng panibagong price ceiling sa buong bansa na o buong Luzon kasi nandito naman ang sentro ng ASF sa buong Luzon,” said Meat Dealers’ president Ricardo Chan.

“Kasi pumalpak ang price ceiling nila (dahil) NCR lang. Ngayon kung ipatutupad iyan sa kabuoan ng bansa eh siguradong bababa ang presyo ng baboy,” he added.

The group said that though there is enough supply of pork in local markets at present, manipulation in prices remains evident.

“Halos lahat ng palengke makikita mo naman bukas. Sa madalit sabi may baboy, nagsasamantala lang talaga itong mga hog raiser,” he said.

“Magtataka ka eh diba? Bakit ang daming baboy halos lahat ng palengke may baboy pero noong magkaroon ng price ceiling eh nawala yung baboy. Anu yun, nagtago? Ibig sabihin yung mga hog raiser ang nagko-control,” he said.

Chan added that they are in favor of having another price ceiling for both local and imported pork to ease the burden from consumers.

Also, imposing such a limit will help local hog raisers compete with imported pork, he stated.

DA to impose SRP on imported pork beginning April 9

Marje Pelayo   •   April 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) will be imposing a suggested retail price (SRP) on imported pork which is now cheaper than locally produced meat.

At present, the price of kasim is P270 per kilogram; while liempo costs P350 per kilogram.

Likewise, the DA will require importers and retailers to put proper labeling in each package for easy distinction and for the protection of consumers.

“The DA thru the NMIS-the National Meat Inspection Service will require importers to package their pork, of course, those 2 categories– Liempo or Kasim, into salable packages of 1 kilo or 500 grams,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

Thursday (April 8) is the last day of a two-month implementation of the price cap on pork and poultry meat.

The DA plans to focus on additional strategies to prevent a further spike in the prices of such commodities.

The DA sees a possible importation of pork meat and a lowering of tariff.

But while this strategy remains pending approval, the DA will continue transporting pork from African Swine Fever-free provinces to Metro Manila to stabilize supply.

The agency also sees the repopulation of pigs in ASF-free areas.

“Iyong dati, iyong price cap will not solve the problem. Ang bottom line pa rin ay supply,” noted Dar.

“Price capping is just one of the measures. So to stabilize prices talaga you have to complete those other measures to be in place,” he added.

The DA has allocated P45-M for the procurement of freezers which will be provided to retailers.

A compliance monitoring team will also be created to ensure that retailers are observing and following the SRP.

For its part, the Trade Department hopes that an additional supply of pork will help stabilize the prices.

“I think P320 to P350 hopefully will be the ideal price moving forward. Given maybe the expected supply asahan natin na dyan po iikot ang presyo in a way medyo istable na,” said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

But for consumers, the implementation of the price cap remains best as they hope to hear the result of the investigation on the alleged manipulation in pork prices as soon as possible.

“Dito sa SRP suggested di ba? Suggested retail prices. So malikot pa rin ang presyo sa palengke,” said the group’s representative Atty. Vic Dimagiba. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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