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Call for Action on 'Unjustifiable' Meat Prices

11 September 2014

PHILIPPINES - Agriculture alliance Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) has called on the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC) to act immediately on the continuing increase in retail prices of pork and chicken products.

The increases have been labelled unjustifiable because of the significant reduction of farmgate prices for live hogs and chicken, the group noted in an emailed statement, according to GMA News.

Based on the latest Farmgate Price Watch SINAG released on Thursday, farmgate prices of pigs and chicken dropped by as much as P25 per kilo over the last three weeks.

With the current farmgate price of live hogs at P105 to P115 per kilo, the retail prices of pork should only be around P170 to Php175 per kilo, SINAG chairman Rosendo So said in the statement.

Citing its own price monitoring, SINAG said the retail price of pork in several markets was around P220 per kilo.

Meanwhile, Mr So said the current farmgate price of chicken was only P68 to P73 per kilo. Thus, retail price should only be around P110 per kilo.

SINAG records also showed the retail price of chicken in several markets was around P150 per kilo.

"This is not normal... Farmgate prices of chicken and hogs have dropped by P20 to P23 per kilo... and yet retail prices of these commodities have even increased by P5 to P10," Mr So noted.

While farmgate prices are typically lower than retail prices, minus costs of transport, handling, storage, marketing and profit margins, "a price difference of almost P100 is too much," Mr So said.

He argued that retailers should not use the current port congestion problem as an excuse to increase prices of fresh meat by as much as P10 per kilo.

"Meat imports are mainly for meat processing and are not intended to be sold in our wet markets, so there is no direct link between port congestion and any increase in the price of fresh meat," Mr So added.

He pointed out that global quarantine regulations does not allow imported frozen meat to be sold in public markets as frozen meat's bacterial growth – once away from freezers – are exponentially fast, posing hazard to public health safety.

Mr So also encouraged NPCC to look into the current retail prices of rice, as farmgate prices of palay have also dropped by P2 per kilo in the last two weeks, and are expected to decrease further in the next two weeks when farmers start to harvest their palay. "There is therefore no justifiable reason for any increase in the retail price of rice in the coming weeks as well.

"There is no justifiable reason for any increase on the retail prices of basic food commodities being produced by our farmers since there is enough domestic supply and farmgate prices have even decreased... over the last three weeks," he added.

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