AN umbrella group from the agriculture sector on Thursday called on the National Price Coordinating Council to immediately act on the continuing high retail prices of pork and chicken products despite the significant reduction in farmgate prices for live hogs and chicken.
In its latest Farmgate Price Watch, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) said there has been a significant drop of as much as P25 per kilo in the farmgate prices of hogs and chicken in the last few weeks.
Since October of last year, SINAG has been releasing its Farmgate Price Watch, which lists the prices of agricultural products as sold by farmers, to guide government and the consuming public on the actual price changes of basic food commodities.
“This is not normal, farmgate prices of chicken and hogs have dropped by P20-P23 per kilo and yet the retail prices of these commodities have even increased by P5-P10 pesos,” said SINAG chair Rosendo So.
So explained that while farmgate prices are typically lower than the retail prices consumers pay since these exclude costs of transport, handling, storage, marketing and profit margins, nonetheless, a price difference of almost a P100 is too much.
“At the current farmgate price of live hogs at P105-P115 per kilo, retail prices of pork should only be about P170-P175 per kilo,” he said. And with farmgate prices of chicken at P68-P73 per kilo, the retail price should only be around P110 per kilo, he added.
SINAG also took exception to media statements attributed to meat importers that retail prices of meat will increase by P10 per kilo due to the port congestion at the Port of Manila.
“Meat imports are mainly for meat processing and are not intended to be sold at our wet markets, so there is no direct link between port congestion and any increase in the price of fresh meat,” So said.
The official said that global quarantine regulations do not allow imported frozen meat to be sold in public markets since bacterial growth in frozen meats, once away from freezers, is horrendously exponentially fast, posing hazard to public health safety.
SINAG also said farmgate prices of palay, or paddy rice, have also dropped by P2 per kilo in the last two weeks. This is expected to decrease further in the next two weeks when farmers start to harvest their palay. There is therefore no justifiable reason for any increase in the retail prices of rice in the coming weeks as well.
“There is no justifiable reason for any increase in the retail prices of basic food commodities being produced by our farmers since there is enough domestic supply and farmgate prices have even decreased over the last three weeks,” added So.