PH gov’t to tackle supply woes in food security summit – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   February 10, 2021   •   121

MANILA, Philippines – The executive branch of the government has called for a food security summit to discuss current issues affecting the agriculture industry, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the summit aims to tackle mitigation measures on issues affecting the sector such as the surge in pork prices, drop in farmgate prices of palay, and the outbreak of the African Swine Fever (ASF).

“The Executive branch is calling for a Food Security Summit, with the Department of Agriculture (DA) as lead agency, to continue to boost and develop the agri-fishery sector through the cooperation, coordination and collaboration of the local government units (LGUs) and the private sector’s industry players and stakeholders,” Roque said in a statement.

The food security summit also seeks to present some models for the agribusiness value-chain approach, LGU-led agri-fishery extension system, and strengthening the role and capacities of local price coordinating councils and regional development councils.

“As part of the President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s whole-of-government approach, the summit aims to develop a National Food Security Plan to achieve our vision of a food-secure and the resilient Philippines with prosperous farmers and fisherfolks, and where consumers have a continuous flow of food and producers have continuous productivity, unhampered movement of agricultural commodities, accessibility and price stability,” Roque said.

The Palace issued the statement after the Pork Producers’ Federation of the Philippines appealed to the government for a dialogue to address the problem in the supply of pork and chicken that resulted in the increase in prices of pork and chicken meat products.

President Duterte earlier issued an executive order setting a 60-day price ceiling on pork and chicken sold in Metro Manila due to the effects of the ASF outbreak that affected many hog farms in Luzon.

The Department of Agriculture also implemented a transportation subsidy for pork supply from Visayas and Mindanao areas, as well as in other parts of Luzon to help address tight supply.

Hontiveros urges DA to focus on ramping up efforts vs ASF instead of price caps

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Risa Hontiveros has urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to focus its efforts on preventing the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) instead of imposing price ceilings.

“The government should instead channel its efforts to bring credibility to testing, reporting, and responding to local outbreaks, among others. Hindi na nakakatulong ang ipinataw nilang price control (imposing price control is not helping), so let’s look deeper than the surface,” the senator said.

Hontiveros noted that the DA is already boosting local hog supply by distributing mother pigs and feeds to ASF-cleared areas, however, hog raisers still fear subsequent waves of infection.

Instead of repopulation plans, Hontiveros said the DA should also teach hog raisers preventive measures to protect livestock from ASF. She added that the price cap is making it almost impossible for vendors to recover from the “twindemic” of COVID-19 and ASF.

“Nakararanas tayo ng ‘Twindemic’ —pandemya ng COVID-19 at epidemya ng ASF. Kambal din ang dagok sa ating magbababoy na nalubog pa dahil sa itinakdang price ceiling (We are experiencing a ‘Twindemic’—COVID-19 pandemic and the ASF epidemic. Our hog raisers are also experiencing twin challenges due to the price ceiling),” the senator said.

Hontiveros also proposed to revoke the imposed price ceiling to help affected producers and retailers recover from their losses.

“Dumadaing na ang ating producers at retailers. Ilang eksperto na ang tumutol sa pagpapatupad ng price ceiling. Bawiin na sana ito para makabawi naman sa lugi ang ating mga kababayan (Our producers and retailers are complaining. Several experts have already expressed opposition to implementation of a price ceiling. It should be revoked for the sake of our fellowmen),” she added. AAC 

DA confirms arrival of 2,000 hogs from South Cotabato firm at Vitas Port, Manila

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has confirmed the arrival of 2,000 hogs from a South Cotabato firm at the Vitas Port, Pier 18, in Tondo, Manila on Wednesday (February 17).

DA Secretary William Dar said this is part of the sustained efforts of the agriculture department to augment the tight supply of pork and eventually lower the prices of pork in Metro Manila.

He also reported that several markets already adjusted their prices within the price ceiling imposed by the national government.

“We have monitored the situation from February 8 up until now, and the average daily volume of hogs that have reached Metro Manila is 4,560 heads, compared to 4,000 hogs daily. We have more than enough hogs,” he said.

Dar said, South Cotabato firm Biotech Farms volunteered to support and commit to deliver thousands of live hogs regularly to be sold in various Metro Manila public markets.

The DA continues to coordinate with local government units (LGUs) in the mobilization and marketing of pork supply, and provides consumers with reasonably-priced pork. -AAC

DA to investigate alleged diversion, overpricing of pork supply

Marje Pelayo   •   February 16, 2021

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)

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