Despite the tightness in supply, the Philippine government is targeting to bring down the farm-gate price of pork in the country to P165 to P170 per kilogram (/kg), which is nearly double the commodity’s current retail cost of around P350/kg recently recorded at select markets in Metro Manila.
This is amid the implementation of a new price cap on pork within Metro Manila, based on the Executive Order (EO) recently signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
During the Laging Handa briefing on Monday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar confirmed that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is indeed providing a transport subsidy of P21/kg to hog shipments coming to Metro Manila, which was first reported in Manila Bulletin on Sunday.
Such a move, according to him, should help bring down the farm-gate price of pork to about P165 to P171/kg, which will eventually result in lower retail cost of pork.
“What was discussed upon is that with pork sold at P144/kg farm-gate price for live hogs, landed price in Metro Manila should be P165/kg, already including the DA’s transport assistance,” Dar said.
The request for the transport subsidy should be made to DA’s regional field offices, which will then issue certification of assistance to accredited hog raisers.
Based on DA’s price monitoring report, the prevailing price of pork kasim in select markets in Metro Manila went down from P350/kg on Friday to 270/kg on Monday, while pork liempo now costs P330/kg from Friday’s prevailing cost of P380/kg.
The slight decline in prices was recorded during the first day of the new 60-day price ceiling on pork and chicken within Metro Manila, which mandated a price cap of P270/kg for pork kasim, P300/kg for pork liempo, and P160/kg for whole dressed chicken.
The DA is coordinating with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and local chief executives to enforce the EO on the price ceiling.
The basis of the EO issuance is the alleged price manipulation on pork involving traders and viajeros.
Dar said during the Laging Handa briefing that the DA is still in the process of filing cases against the alleged price manipulators.
Aside from the transport subsidy, Dar said DA will likewise subsidize the fuel of trucks that are set to deliver pork supply to Metro Manila markets, as well as streamline the permitting process on the shipments.
He also asked local government units (LGU), especially barangays, to not impose an additional tax to hog shipments amid the tightness in pork supply, which is being largely attributed to the persistence of African Swine Fever (ASF), a fatal animal disease among swine.
So far, ASF already resulted in the death and culling of more than 500,000 hogs across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
DA had already set aside P1 billion for a nationwide hog repopulation program.
The DA is also facilitating the transport of hogs from Mindanao, Visayas, and some parts of Luzon including Batangas, to Metro Manila markets.
Clinton Edward Ang, president of the South Cotabato Swine Producers’ Association, said they are willing to work with DA, in the transport and delivery of live hogs and carcasses to Luzon, initially at 10,000 hogs a week.
Meanwhile, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) Chairperson Danilo Ramos said the P1 billion set aside for hog repopulation is not enough to address the supply and price crisis in pork.
“Government support prices and financial aid for consumers and heavy subsidies for producers are what will pull down pork and chicken prices across the value chain. This would ease the burden for producers, retailers, and consumers. DA can utilize part of its current agriculture stimulus budget to provide necessary government support price,” Ramos said.
KMP also supported the recommendation of hog raisers to tag in the market which pork and chicken products are local and which are imported.
“Product tagging and subsidized prices will encourage consumers’ support to buy local produce,” Ramos further said.
Hog raisers and industry groups are likewise currently complaining about the extremely low price ceiling on pork and chicken, which they think may result in vendors and traders losing money.