(Eagle News) – The Department of Agriculture is recommending the imposition of a price freeze on pork and chicken to prevent a further spike in the prices of these meat products as investigators found evidence of prices being jacked up by as much as P200 per kilo.
In a statement, the department said that it has already recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte to impose a price freeze for pork and chicken – P270 per kilo for pork kasim and pigue, P300 per kilo for liempo, and P160 for chicken meat.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar also warned unscrupulous traders and wholesalers who are jacking up prices of pork and other meat products.
He said that the DA has already activated a sub-task group that will focus on price manipulation.
“We recently activated a sub-task group on economic intelligence under the IATF task group on food security (TGFS) that will focus on those who manipulate supply and prices of agricultural products at the expense of consumers,” Dar said.
While he admitted that there is a limited population of hogs in Central Luzon due to the African Swine Flu since early 2019, this is not enough reason for the very high prices of pork products in the market today.
He said “traders and wholesalers are causing the spike in the prices of pork.”
“They are making a large profit margin of more than P200 per kilo, between the farmgate price of live hogs and the retail price of pork in public markets. Talagang sobra ang kita nila,” Dar said in a statement.
“All evidence point against them, as production cost of hogs, ranges only from P105 to P150 per kilo, and the resulting farmgate price of up to P200 per kilo, while market retail prices go as high P400 per kilo. That’s a huge P200-profit margin,” he said
Dar said only a P70 to P80 margin between farmgate and market prices is acceptable.
There is no food crisis,” he said as the DA chief warned individuals and entities who are floating the idea of a food shortage.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go also announced that President Duterte might issue an executive order that would impose a price freeze on pork and chicken products.
The department is seeking help from the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) to investigate traders and wholesalers suspected of manipulating the supply and prices of basic food items.
It is also partnering with the departments of interior and local government (DILG), trade and industry (DTI), and justice (DOJ), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) — who are members of the sub-task group on economic intelligence under the IATF task group on food security — to investigate, apprehend and prosecute profiteers and price manipulators.
(Eagle News Service)