DA to subsidize hog shipments to Metro Manila

Marje Pelayo   •   February 4, 2021   •   314

MANILA, Philippines — One of the interventions that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is planning on carrying out to minimize the cost of transporting hogs to Metro Manila is to provide for the logistics.

Assistant Secretary Kristine Evangelista said they will use the vessels owned by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to transport hogs from Mindanao and Visayas free of charge.

In the past weeks, the price of pork has exceeded P400 per kilogram which the DA suspects is due to the price manipulation of some traders and wholesalers.

“Kaya natin aakuin ang logistic, ang transport para mabawasan ang cost while we are also trying to address the other costs na na-experience ng ating mga hog raisers,” explained DA Assistant Secretary Kristine Evangelista. 

The Department will implement the price freeze on February 8 pursuant to the Executive Order 124 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (February 1).

In the meantime, the DA said they will allow retailers to dispose current stocks which they bought at a higher price.

Based on the price freeze, the ceiling for pork should not exceed P300 per kilogram and P160 per kilogram for chicken.

“So dito papasok iyong grace period natin to give them enough time to adjust and they gave us the reassurance na talagang mag-adjust sila ng presyo at makikipag tulungan sila sa atin,” Evangelista assured. 

Laban Konsyumer Atty. Vic Dimagiba on the other hand believes that their pork holiday campaign will be more effective in decreasing pork prices if vendors will join them. 

“So maganda ito. Dalawang grupo ng sektor ng industriya would like to exercise their market power with one objective. Ang objective lang naman niyan is to ensure na ang mga consumer ay may access sa basic goods at reasonable prices,” he said.

On Monday (February 8), top officials of the DA and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) along with some members of Congress are set for a market visit. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DA urged to prioritize eradication of ASF, extension of aid to hog farmers

Robie de Guzman   •   April 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joel Villanueva on Monday called on the Department of Agriculture (DA) to “do everything in its power” to resolve the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak, and to prioritize the extension of aid to struggling local hog industry stakeholders.

“This food crisis is a local problem that must have a local solution. In order of priority, unahin po natin ang pagsugpo sa ASF at pagtulong sa mga magbababoy. Iyan ang tanong po natin sa DA ngayon. Ano po ang farm-level solutions nyo?” Villanueva said in Monday’s Senate hearing on the alleged “tongpats scheme” within the DA on imported pork.

Villanueva made the call as he expressed apprehension over President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 128 to temporarily lower the tariffs on pork imports to resolve the existing pork supply shortage and stabilize meat prices in the country.

“At hindi po ako naniniwala na ang solusyon sa krisis na ito ay mag-import ng karne. An imported virus is killing local pigs. We should not let too much imported pork finish off what is left of our hog industry. Our salvation cannot be found in foreign farms,” he said.

Villanueva said that the ASF outbreak has reduced the supply of local pork in the market and that he wants to know what the DA is doing to counter this scarcity that has been driving the prices of meat to unaffordable levels.

“Maliban sa pag-alis ng tariff walls, ano po ang farmgate interventions ng DA? The national swine inventory is down by 3 million heads. Piggeries have been emptied of one-fourth of their stocks. This 25-percent plunge in the livestock population translates to a 100-percent bankruptcy rate in many pig farms. Biyak na po pati kanilang piggy banks,” he said in a separate statement.

The senator noted that in Bulacan alone, the pork production inventory was already down by one-third last year while the hog production in the whole Central Luzon plunged to one-fourth in 2020.

“P8,000 po ang nawalang kita sa kada ulo ng baboy. Di hamak mas malaki po ito sa P1,000 na ayuda ng gobyerno kada ulo sa isang bahay,” he said.

Other senators have earlier called on Duterte to reconsider and recall EO 128 as this will only further burden local hog raisers who are already suffering from the negative impact of the ASF crisis.

Under EO 128, the tariff rate for imported pork meat within quota or minimum access volume will be pegged at 5 percent for the first three months of the order’s effectivity and 10 percent during the months four to 12.

For pork imports outside the quota, the order cuts the tariff to 15 percent during the first three months upon its effectivity, and 20 percent for the months four to 12.

The EO said that the current 30 percent to 40 percent tariff rate for imported pork will be restored after the 12th month.

“There is an urgent need to temporarily reduce the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff rates on fresh, chilled or frozen meat of swine to address the existing pork supply shortage, stabilize prices of pork meat, and minimize inflation rates,” Duterte said in his order.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, however, said there is no need to import more pork products because the local production is already more than sufficient to address the shortage of pork supply.

Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Lacson said the average nationwide consumption of pork products from 2018 to 2020 was at 1.85 million metric tons.

During the same period, the average annual local production of pork was 2.25 million metric tons.

“So where is the shortage? Hindi man malinaw na higit pa sa sapat ang supply mula sa local na production upang matugunan ang pangangailangan ng ating bansa?” Lacson said in his opening statement at the hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole on the food security crisis.

“Ito ay sa kabila ng umiiral na African Swine Fever (ASF) na nagsimulang nakapasok sa bansa noon pa mang Agosto 2019 na siyang ginawa nilang pangunahing dahilan sa pagkumbinsi kay Presidente Duterte upang pirmahan ang nasabing EO 128,” he added.

The investigation into the food security crisis stemmed from allegations about a kickback scheme in the pork importation process within the Department of Agriculture.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar earlier denied involvement in the alleged scheme and that an investigation has been launched into the issue.

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)

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.