Agri-business lobby Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) called on the Department of Agriculture (DA) to lower suggested retail prices (SRP) on chicken and pork products as farmgate prices continued to go down drastically.
Citing its latest Farmgate Price Watch, Sinag said that prices of chicken at farmgate dropped by almost 50 percent to about P48-P52 per kilo in the past two weeks, from P78-P82 per kilo in early January.
Sinag Chairperson Rosendo So stressed that farmgate prices continue to nosedive, yet retail prices of chicken remains unchanged at around P130-P135 per kilo.
“We are urging the DA and the National Price Coordinating Council to immediately act on correcting the high retail prices of chicken products given the severe reduction at the farmgate for live chicken” So said.
According to the official, the difference for chicken at farmgate to retail should only be P50 per kilo to cover costs of transport, handling, storage, marketing and profit margins.
At the present farmgate price, chicken should only be sold in retail markets between P90 and P100 per kilo. The SRP should also include choice cuts and not just for whole chicken.
“Supermarket chains and the meat shops of integrators should be selling chicken at around P80 per kilo since these are directly procured at the farmgate,” he said.
For pork, Sinag said that farmgate prices of live hogs are now at P111-P113 per kilo.
The difference for pork at farmgate to retail is only P60-P65 per kilo to cover costs across the supply chain, from transport, handling, storage, marketing and profit margins; therefore the current SRP of P175-P185 per kilo for pork reflects the actual retail cost for pork.
“We have the correct SRP for pork; what must be done by the DA is to strictly monitor and enforce the SRP since the prevailing retail price of P190-P220 per kilo is unjustly beyond the imposed SRP,” So said.
For the past two years, Sinag has been regularly releasing its Farmgate Price Watch, which lists down the price of agri products as sold by farmers to guide government and the consumers on the actual price changes of basic food commodities.
According to Sinag, the SRP is imposed to reflect the true value of any agricultural commodity at the level of retailers since this is based on cost of production, farmgate prices and the added costs along the value chain from farmgate to the retailers.
“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 agri commodities,” added So.
So explained that what is happening in the chicken industry is much 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.
The group also revealed that it has 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 stocks from importers.