Saturday, January 20, 2018
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Regulators urged to lower chicken meat prices

Deluge of imported, smuggled products cited

Regulators should lower the suggested retail price (SRP) of chicken meat as farmgate prices have dropped by at least a third, according to the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura.

The umbrella group of farmers, agribusiness operators and party list groups made the call as agriculture officials said they were reviewing the SRPs for both chicken and pork as retail rates have remained high even if prices at the farm have plunged.

Based on Sinag’s monitoring of prices, a kilo of chicken now fetches P48 to P52 at the farmgate.

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With prices previously hovering within P78 and P82 a kilo, the decrease ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent.

Sinag said that, at the same time, retail prices remained at around P130 to P135 a kilo. Currently, the SRP is pegged at P135 a kilo.

“We are urging the Department of Agriculture and the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC) to immediately act on correcting the high retail prices of chicken products given the severe reduction at the farmgate for live chicken,” Sinag chair Rosendo So said in an interview.

The DA is actively monitoring production and marketing of agricultural products, and is represented in the NPCC.

The council sets the SRP and is led by the Department of Trade and Industry.

So said that a P50 price difference between farmgate and retail was reasonable, to allow for recovery of costs related to transport, handling, storage, and marketing, as well as to cover profit margins.

He said that with current prices at the farm, chicken meat —be it a whole bird or choice cuts—should retail at between P90 and P100 a kilo.

Asked why prices have fallen, the Sinag chair said the situation was similar to the recent problems that have beset the garlic and onion industry, with the deluge of both imported and smuggled products that are competing directly with domestic production.

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“We have received alarming reports from chicken growers that a number of the big fast food chains in the country have reduced their purchase orders from local growers and instead are sourcing their supplies from importers,” So said.

Earlier, Agriculture Undersecretary Jose Reaño said the DA’s livestock operation office was reviewing the SRP as farmgate prices of chicken went down “due to efficient production practices and high inventory of frozen chicken.”

Reaño said his office was considering a recommendation to the NPCC for an SRP of P90 to P105 for a kilo of chicken meat.

According to Sinag’s So, the imposition of SRP is just but one of the measures to protect the interests of both the consumers and growers.

“Eventually, the government must help the industry address the depressed farmgate prices of chicken and other agricultural commodities,” he added.

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