Perks, loans dangled to solve pork woes

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    Pork holiday. Stalls selling pork and chicken at a Mandaluyong wet market are closed on Feb. 8, 2021 as vendors oppose the imposition of price ceiling on meat. (Photo by :RHOY COBILLA)

    By JOCELYN MONTEMAYOR and JED MACAPAGAL

    The Department of Agriculture (DA) is readying packages of incentives and loans to stakeholders of the hog and pork industry to help augment supply and stabilize the price of the meat in Metro Manila.

    DA Secretary William Dar at Laging Handa briefing bared adjusted farmgate prices that now range from P165 to P171 per kilogram (kg) from December 2020 to January prices of P130 to P210 per kg.

    Dar said a group of swine producers in Mindanao has committed to deliver 10,000 hogs to Metro Manila weekly to ensure the continued supply of pork and pork products in the National Capital Region and nearby areas.

    He said to offset the impact of the shipment cost of pork to Metro Manila, the DA is providing transportation assistance of P10 to P21 per kilo of hog or pork.

    For market vendors in Metro Manila, Dar said the DA will also provide loans at zero interest to provide them with capital.

    According to Dar, the  transport assistance is as follows: P10 per kg of hog coming from Central Luzon and Calabarzon regions, P15 per kg of hog from Mimaropa, Bicol, and other Visayas regions; and P21 per kg of hog from Mindanao.

    Dar said the transportation cost is then added to the farm gate price of the pork to determine the price of the pork that would be sold in the market. He said this means that if the farm gate price of hog in General Santos and Cotabato City is P140 per kg and the transportation assistance in Mindanao is P21, the acceptable price of pork per kilo would be P165 to P171 per kg.

    “We will further streamline the permitting process especially now that a lot are trying to secure their permits. We have to simplify that to fast track the arrival of pork (in Metro Manila.) We don’t want it to be very much bureaucratic and we’ve learned that even some barangays are now taxing so we appeal that now is not the right time for that,” Dar said.

    Supply augmentation

    Dar said an initial 27 metric tons of live hogs from different parts of Mindanao arrived in Metro Manila yesterday which was then brought to a slaughter house in Antipolo City to prepare for its distribution to Metro Manila.

    He added he secured a commitment from the Southern Cotabato Swine Producers Association (SOCOSPA), based in Mindanao, to make weekly deliveries of 10,000 hogs to Metro Manila.

    He said he talked to the SOCOSPA led by their president Clinton Edward Ang when he visited Mindanao during the weekend.

    However, agricultural lobby group, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura quoting members in the region, said they yet received any formal commitment from the DA on the payment modalities and exact amount in the supposed shipment assistance.

    Price caps take effect

    Dar appealed to retailers and vendors of pork in wet markets in Metro Manila to cooperate with the government in easing the retail price of the meat especially since cheaper supply is now becoming available.

    He also encouraged consumers to buy chicken, fish and vegetable legumes as alternative protein source.

    The government started yesterday the implementation of a 60-day price cap on the price on pork and chicken in Metro Manila that set the ceiling of P270 for a kilo of kasim or pigue, P300 per kilo for liempo and P160 per kilo for dressed chicken. Dar said pork and chicken products sold in supermarkets in Metro Manila are also covered by the price cap.
    Based on the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, as of January 28, retail prices of pork kasim is at a high of P420 per kg and a low of P330 per kg. for a prevailing price of P360 per kg while pork liempo is at a high of P430 per kg but at a low of P350 per kg and prevailing at P400 per kg.

    Dar said

    He said the economic intelligence sub-task force, that was created last week to go after smugglers, price manipulators, and hoarders have already started to go around to monitor the situation especially in the markets.

    He said the department and the sub –task force is closely monitoring some traders and is building up cases.

    Dar reiterated government is also providing assistance to the hog raisers been affected by the African swine fever, including the repopulation of the piggeries in the affected areas.