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‘Pork holiday’ urged amid soaring prices

Louisse Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
âPork holidayâ urged amid soaring prices
LKI said consumers are carrying the burden of high prices of pork and even chicken, amid the tug of war among the Department of Agriculture, local hog raisers, importers and market vendors.
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) is calling on the public to do a “pork holiday” amid the continued increase in the prices of pork products.

LKI said consumers are carrying the burden of high prices of pork and even chicken, amid the tug of war among the Department of Agriculture, local hog raisers, importers and market vendors.

“There are competing positions at the moment. Everyone has its own story. You do not know which is which. And yet, consumers continue to bear the brunt of high prices,” LKI president Vic Dimagiba said.

“Consumers must exercise their right of choice. Let’s stop buying meat products. Let’s have a pork holiday until the market price behaves,” he said.

Latest market monitoring showed that the price of pork ham or kasim range from P370 to P400 per kilo while pork belly or liempo is now at P400 to P440 a kilo.

The high prices of pork is still an effect tight supply due to rising cases of ASF, as well as the lowering down of investments of commercial raisers amid fears of getting infected with the hog disease.

LKI said that stakeholders have conflicting claims on the current price and supply mess in the market.

The DA has been blaming traders and wholesalers for price manipulation, while local hog raisers are calling for the resignation of Agriculture Secretary William Dar for his alleged incompetence.

On the other hand, importers are asking the government for lower tariffs and more volume while vendors are complaining of high prices from traders.

In the end, consumers suffer and are faced with sky high prices of pork at a time when costs of other food items are also increasing.

“In the meantime, third party independent government agencies should take it upon themselves to probe price collusion if any and file charges to anyone who slept on their job, those who take advantage at the expense of the other stakeholders and more importantly, the consumers,” Dimagiba said.

Meanwhile, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) slammed anew the government’s move to impose a price cap on pork and its proposal to bring down tariffs on imported meat.

Data from the Bureau of Customs showed that at 40 percent tariff, imported prime cuts of pork has a landed cost of only P118.

Including other costs like delivery to both cold storage and retail outlets as well storage cost, importers would only shoulder around P153 per kilo.

And yet retail prices are at a high of P440 per kilo, which means importers are earning as much as P287 per kilo.

“And now importers are demanding to reduce the tariff? What treachery for the DA to even support this call,” Sinag chairman Rosendo So said.

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