Poor man’s fish hit by supply problems

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    Can the poor afford it? At P240 per kilogram, galunggong is now more expensive than chicken.
    Can the poor afford it? At P240 per kilogram, galunggong is now more expensive than chicken.

    The price of the so-called poor man’s fish, galunggong, has jumped 50 percent year-on-year, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

    PSA said as of December 7, the prevailing price of galunggong hit P240 per kilogram (kg.) at a low of P160 per kg and a high of P380 per kg compared to Dec. 8, 2018’s prevailing price of P160 per kg. at a low of P120 per kg and a high of P220 per kg.

    From last month, the current retail price of galunggong is up 41 percent. The prevailing price in November was P170 per kg. at a low of P130 per kg. and a high of P200 per kg.

    At P240 per kg. current prices, chicken is even more affordable than galunggong. The price of a whole chicken is P180 per kg.

    It also about the same price as pork liempo.

    The Department of Agriculture (DA) attributed the increase to lack of supply caused by the three-month closed fishing season in Palawan and Zamboanga. Commercial vessels are not allowed to fish in the waters of East Sulu Sea, Basilan Strait and Sibuguey Bay until March 1, 2020.

    DA allowed the importation of 45,000 metric tons (MT) of galunggong to pull down its prevailing retail price.

    Last year, the DA also approved the importation of galunggong which lasted until April this year for a total of 117,000 MT.

    According to data from the PSA, the country’s production of galunggong improved in the first nine months of the year by 13 percent as it went up to 156,980 MT compared to last year’s 139,050 MT.

    But on a quarter-on-quarter basis, galunggong production dropped 7.5 percent to 40,660 MT in the third quarter of the year from the 43,950 MT recorded in the previous quarter.