MANILA – As the price ceiling on pork and chicken will end Thursday, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar said a suggested retail price (SRP) on imported pork will take effect on April 9.
In a virtual press briefing Wednesday, Dar said this measure is part of the government’s effort to stabilize food prices.
“The price cap ends tomorrow, that’s under EO (executive order) 124. So April 8 will be the last day for the price cap — the existing one, and there will be no extension. But we have decided with consultations again with various stakeholders, with DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), and others that we will impose a suggested retail price for imported pork,” he said.
Starting Friday (April 9), imported pork kasim shall have an SRP of PHP270 per kilogram and PHP350 per kilogram for imported pork liempo.
Dar added that importers should comply with hygienic handling as well as proper packaging and labeling of imported pork products.
The DA chief said imported pork will be distributed also in wet markets in Metro Manila, particularly for retailers with freezers or chillers.
But for those without freezers or chillers, Dar said the DA will be providing a grant of PHP45 million to buy 2,500 freezers that cost PHP18,000 each.
Each freezer has a storage capacity of 150 kilograms, Dar said.
The rise in inflation rate in the past months was mainly driven by higher prices of meat due to continued supply deficiency brought by African swine fever (ASF).
In February this year, inflation settled at 4.7 percent. This slowed down to 4.5 percent in March.
Dar said the implementation of a price cap on pork and poultry products has been helpful to slow down inflation rate, but imposing price ceiling and SRP alone will not solve the problem of higher prices of meat.
He added that easing rules on imported meat such as raising the minimum access volume (MAV) for pork and lowering its tariff will address the supply issue in the local market.
Dar said that from February to March this year, a total of 38 million kilograms of imported pork arrived in the country.
Of the said importation, 18.2 million kilograms were through the MAV and 19.7 million kilograms were outside MAV.
This does not include the imported pork for processors which also have MAV allocation, Dar added.
“If Metro Manila is needing 15 million kilos of pork every month, so with the availability now of about 38 million kilos (of pork), this will really further soften the inflation,” the agriculture chief said. Kris Crismundo / PNA – northboundasia.com