As the 60-day price ceiling on pork ends today, April 8, the Department of Agriculture (DA) yesterday announced it will implement suggested retail price (SRP) for imported supply.
In a virtual briefing yesterday, DA Secretary William Dar, said starting April 9, imported pork should be no more than P270 per kg for kasim and P350 per kg for liempo.
Local pork will no longer be covered by price caps with the expiry of Executive Order 124.
Dar said the DA and the Department of Trade and Industry agreed to implement the SRP as well as a set of guidelines on the hygienic handling of imported pork such as proper packaging and labelling.
A compliance monitoring team composed of representatives from from the DA, DTI and the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police and other stakeholders will be formed.
DA through the National Meat Inspection Service will require importers to distribute liempo or kasim in packages of 1 kg or 500 grams.
Dar said the DA will continue to encourage local hog raisers to supply and deliver surplus hogs from provinces with no outbreaks of African swine fever.
The DA said transport assistance to stabilize supply of hog in Metro Manila will be in place until the proposals for an expanded minimum access volume (MAV) and lower tariff for imported pork are approved.
The transport subsidy is set at P21 per kg for live hogs and carcasses from those Mindanao; P15 per kg. from Visayas, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa and Bicol; and P10 per kg. from Central Luzon and Calabarzon.
Dar said aside from supermarkets and groceries, imported pork will also be distributed in wet markets in Metro Manila by retailers with freezers and chillers.
For those without chillers, DA and local government unitswill provide a grant totalling P45 million for 2,500 chest freezers costing P18,000 per unit with each freezer having a capacity of 150 kg.
Dar assured the entry of imported pork will be “calibrated” to allay the fears of local producers that the country’s hog industry will be severely affected by the intended expansion of MAV and lower tariff for imported pork.
“We monitored import arrival of pork from January to March. For those inside the MAV, 18.2 million kg. of pork bellies and cold cuts arrived while those outside the MAV, (the volume) was at 19.7 million kg. We already excluded those that are brought by processors. Metro Manila needs 15.2 million kg. of pork every month,” Dar said.
Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura said the proposals to expand MAV and lower tariff of imported pork are “not necessary nor beneficial to consumers and the local hog industry.”
“Increasing the MAV to 400 million kg of pork is equivalent to eight million pig heads and is way above the current inventory of our backyard hog raisers at 6.9 million heads. This action will not make pork more affordable for our countrymen, and it further cripples a hog industry that is already suffering from the DA’s mismanagement of the ASF outbreak,” the group said in a statement.