DA sets probe on alleged withheld pork products

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    The Department of Agriculture (DA) has initiated an investigation on hog raisers and traders for allegedly withholding release of pork products in the market to artificially cause high prices.

    DA Secretary William Dar in a statement said the agency will ask the Philippine Competition Commission to conduct a parallel probe for possible violation of the Philippine Competition Act.

    The DA said data from the National Meat Inspection Service showed inventory of frozen pork of both local and imported in accredited cold storages is 55 percent higher as of the third week of October at 59,267 metric tons (MT) compared with 38,216 MT a year ago.

    Inventory of frozen local and imported dressed chicken and chicken parts is more than twice the amount of last year at 83,266 MT versus 22,953 MT in 2019.

    “This slow drawdown or small demand for frozen meat indicates most Filipinos prefer fresh or newly-slaughtered meat, or traders are holding off the supply to artificially jack up prices… Also, we should convince our countrymen to consume more chicken in lieu of pork as a source of meat protein,” said Dar.

    “We’re looking into reasons why there’s a very slow withdrawal of frozen pork products despite the availability of supply and demand has started to pick up as the government opens up the economy,” he added.

    The DA said is also looking at whether the high prices were a result of inefficiencies in the supply chain.

    Data from the Philippine Statistics Agency show that as of October 22, 2020, prevailing retail price of pork kasim is at P300 per kilogram (kg.) and at a high of P320 per kg and a low of P240 per kg.

    Meanwhile, prevailing retail price of pork liempo for the similar period is at P340 per kg and at a high of P350 per kg and a low of P300 per kg.