Agriculture Secretary William Dar yesterday assured the public there is enough inventory of pork, especially the frozen variant, but said some unscrupulous traders and importers are withholding and “manipulating” supply.
At the Laging Handa public briefing yesterday, Dar said the current inventory of frozen pork is 55 percent higher than last year but most are kept in cold storages and warehouses operated or owned by private traders and importers.
“We have an excess of frozen pork that should be released by the importers and those that buy from the local suppliers because of the tightness of supply in the market. We will do what is necessary to release the supply from the warehouses regularly,” he said.
Data from the National Meat Inspection Service, as of October 5, the total volume of frozen pork in accredited cold storages is at 44,230.10 metric tons (MT), 13.5 percent higher compared to last year’s 38,941.69 MT.
Dar said the government has been closely monitoring prices of pork in the market to ensure there are no unjust price adjustments. It is also facilitating the transport of pork and pork products from the Visayas and Mindanao to Luzon especially Metro Manila.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed, as of October 17, the retail price of pork kasim is prevailing at P290 per kilogram (kg) and at a high of P300 per kg and a low of P250 per kg. Prevailing price of pork liempo is at P320 per kg and at a high of 350 per kg. and a low of P290 per kg.
Dar said the African swine fever (ASF) has affected 25 provinces and resulted in the depopulation of 350,000 pigs nationwide.
He said ASF has had a “significant bearing” on the country’s hog industry.
But he assured the Department of Agriculture (DA) is working with industry players to restart and revive the local enterprises affected by the ASF by providing support for small and backyard hog raisers and livelihood opportunities.
Dar said meat processors have assured enough supply of ham for Christmas.
He said some traders and big businesses, however, are considering importing more pork for the holidays, which the DA can allow due to the high demand and tight supply during this period.
As this developed, Dar recommended chicken as an alternative source of protein especially with an oversupply of the meat.