Gov’t moves to address spike in NCR pork prices
The “artificial” high prices of pork in public supermarkets in Metro Manila is a problem of logistics, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.
As such, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has partnered with members of the private sector to increase shipments of live hogs and frozen meat from the Visayas and Mindanao to Luzon where prices and supply have been volatile recently.
Beginning this week, Dar said weekly shipments would be increased to 30,000 hogs from 27,000 the past weeks—most of which would be ferried via the main ports of Davao, General Santos and Cagayan de Oro.
“We will elevate our partnerships with hog producers and traders, ship owners and operators, and local government officials in Visayas and Mindanao to supply Metro Manila and Luzon with hogs and frozen pork, and eventually bring down prices for the benefit of customers,” the secretary said.
“This is a problem of logistics—including sourcing, distribution and marketing—which we can address without difficulty. All we ask is the full cooperation of key players in the entire hog industry value chain,” he added.
Based on the DA’s price monitoring reports, a kilo of pork ham and pork belly in Metro Manila markets increased to P320 and P360 from prices last month of P240 and P260 a kilo, respectively, even when the country’s inventory of both local and imported pork went up by 55 percent from year-ago levels.
Dar noted that they already asked for the assistance of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to increase the number and frequency of vessels traveling to and from Visayas, Mindanao and Luzon.
Moreover, the DA is also reviewing the suggested price points for pork and other pork products.
The problem on pork prices and supply has been triggered by the African swine fever (ASF), which the government is still struggling to stamp out.
To date, there are still areas positive for ASF while hog raisers remain cautious of their production even as the Christmas season approaches.
The DA earlier investigated the sudden spike in pork prices in Metro Manila on suspected deliberate efforts of traders to withhold the release of pork and pork products to control prices.
Bureau of Animal Industry Director Ron Domingo had said the country’s swine inventory already declined by 20 percent because of the ASF but inventory remained enough, meaning there should be no reason for prices to go up by more than 30 percent.