Expect pork prices to remain elevated | Inquirer Business
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Expect pork prices to remain elevated

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 04:03 AM October 26, 2021

Due to delays in importation, pork supply would remain short by 278,600 metric tons by year-end and would keep prices elevated, the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said.

In a report on Monday, Neda also projected a supply shortage in lowland vegetables with a total production of only 1.3 million MT this year, accounting for just 80 percent of local demand.

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“Pork supply is still expected to end the year in deficit, despite the arrival of imports under Executive Order Nos. 133 and 134. As of Sept. 27, 2021, only 26.4 percent of the MAV (minimum access volume) Plus first tranche has been utilized. Delayed import arrivals and the low utilization rate were attributed to international port closures and market restrictions in selling MAV Plus goods. To expedite the utilization of the additional MAV, Neda recommends reducing restrictions in the MAV Plus so that imported pork can be sold in more areas,” it said. MAV Plus refers to imports under a lower tariff and quota structure.

“Neda also recommends unloading more pork stocks in cold storages to the markets. The average stocks of frozen pork in [the first three weeks of] September increased to 79,042 MT from 73,159 MT in August. The timely release of pork stocks will help address the supply gap and bring down pork prices,” it added.

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Need to distribute

Last month, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Neda chief Karl Kendrick Chua said imported pork, which were being brought into the country to augment domestic demand and address high prices, needed to be distributed across the country.

“Most pork supply is in [the National Capital Region], so we propose moving [it] outside NCR and [selling it] in wet markets. Most imported pork is also sold in supermarkets,” Chua told the Inquirer.

Last week, Department of Finance Undersecretary and chief economist Gil Beltran said pork prices could have dropped much faster if not for the three-month delay in importation, which kept supply short.

Sufficient supply

Neda nonetheless said that other food items would have more than sufficient supply by year-end. Rice would end 2021 with a surplus of 4 million MT; chicken, 52,900 MT; and fish, 117,400 MT.

“With the upcoming closed fishing season, the government will augment fish supply through the temporary importation of 60,000 MT of fish under the [recently approved certificate of necessity to import],” Neda said.

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Neda also expects highland vegetable production to hit 717,500 MT or 70-percent more than the projected domestic demand for this year.

Highland vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower and pechay. Lowland vegetables include ampalaya (bitter gourd), eggplant, okra, patola (silk squash) and upo (bottle gourd). INQ

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