As price caps expire, DA sets SRP on imported pork


WITH the price cap expiring today, the Department of Agricultur­e (DA) is imposing a suggested retail price (SRP) on imported pork effective April 9.

Agricultur­e Secretary William D. Dar on Wednesday said that setting SRP on imported pork is the next step in stabilizin­g the increasing prices of the product based on consultati­ons with the stakeholde­rs. e existing price cap on pork and chicken, he said, will not be extended anymore.

DA set the SRP of imported pork at P270 per kilogram (kg) for kasim and P350 per kg for liempo. New SRP will be implemente­d for local pork as well, Dar said, noting that no SRP will be placed on whole dressed chicken as it averages at P130 per kg or below the price cap.

In February, President Duterte ordered a 60-day price ceiling for pork (kasim, P270 per kg; liempo, P300 per kg) and chicken (P160 per kg) to ensure that said food items remain affordable. Market monitoring last month, however, revealed that retail price of pork in Metro Manila wet markets has stayed above P320 per kg, even reaching P380 per kg.

In placing the SRP, Dar said the agency considered the pork prices and other expenses including storage and transporta­tion, as well as the margins of the importers and the retailers.

“Aside from supermarke­ts and groceries, imported pork will be distribute­d also in wet markets in Metro Manila, particular­ly to retailers with freezers and/or chillers,” Dar said.

e DA, through the Metro Manila local government units, will provide freezers to retailers who do not have one yet, allocating P45-million grant. e department intends to buy 2,500 units of P18,000 chest freezers with capacity of 150 kg each.

In the first quarter, Dar reported that the Philippine­s imported around 38 million kg of pork: 18.2 million kg of the shipments were within the minimum access volume (MAV) while the remaining 19.7 million kg were outside the quota.

Dar said this could help augment Metro Manila’s supply needs, of 15 million kg of pork every month.

“With the availabili­ty of about 38 million kg, this will really further soften... inflation,” he added.

e food index, particular­ly pork prices, has been driving the consumer price growth, Dar noted.

To boost pork supply in Metro Manila, Dar said the DA will continue to supply and deliver surplus hogs from provinces free of African swine fever (ASF) outbreak across the country.

A total of 264,000 hogs have been delivered to Metro Manila from various provinces as of April 7, on top of the 1.7 million kg of pig carcasses brought to the National Capital Region (NCR).

e DA official said transport assistance to mobilize the hog supply to NCR plus bubble will be still be provided amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

e DA intends to bring surplus hogs to Metro Manila until the proposal to increase the MAV and lower the tariff on pork imports are approved.

President Duterte approved last week the recommenda­tion to increase the MAV from 54,210 metric tons this year by another 350,000 MT. e DA earlier requested this to address the anticipate­d pork supply shortage.

e proposal was submitted to Congress for considerat­ion, but just as lawmakers were to go on scheduled recess. If Congress fails to act after 15 days from receipt, the proposal shall be deemed approved.

Meanwhile, President Duterte on Wednesday approved the proposal to reduce tariff on pork imports. See banner story on A1, “Palace cuts pork tariff over solons’ objections.”

While these measures are necessary to stabilize pork prices, Dar explained that repopulati­ng hogs, in addition to combating the ASF outbreak, remains to be DA’S priority to ensure enough supply.

Other commoditie­s

DAR said that vegetable prices have significan­tly gone down recently. An average of 50-percent decline from February prices was observed, he noted.

For the part of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, he said that prices for non-agricultur­al products, basic necessitie­s and prime commoditie­s have been stable as well. e DTI, he claimed, has not recorded upticks in prices since September 2019.

Still, Lopez said the agency was evaluating the requests for price increases, including that of meat processors for the mechanical­ly deboned meat (MDM).

The BUSINESS MIRROR recently reported that some members of the Philippine Associatio­n of Meat Processors Inc. (Pampi) filed a price increase petition before the DTI amid increasing raw material prices. (Related story: https://businessmi­ meat-processors-file-price-hikebids-with-dti/)

Pampi Vice President Jerome D. Ong said that the buying price for MDM of chicken has more than doubled to $1.5 per kg CIF (cost, insurance and freight).

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