The price ceiling imposed on pork under Executive Order (EO) 124 is not working, prompting Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) to slam the Department of Agriculture (DA) for its programs that “only look good on paper.”
“The price ceilings were not effective at all. Prices remain unaffordable as consumers and producers alike have yet to receive any substantial aid from the government,” KMP said in a statement.
At the same time, KMP said the government’s programs “only look good on paper but actual efforts and aid are not reaching the majority of African Swine Fever (ASF) affected backyard, small and medium raisers”.
Based on the price monitoring report of the DA, the prevailing price of pork kasim at select markets in Metro Manila already stood at P320 per kilogram (/kg) as of March 12, while pork liempo costs P350/kg. A kilo of fully dressed chicken, on the other hand, costs P180/kg.
Such prices went beyond the price ceiling imposed under EO 124, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in January and took effect early last month. The EO imposed a price ceiling of P270/kg on pork kasim; P300/kg on pork liempo; and P160/kg for whole dressed chicken.
Inflation at the national level further also accelerated to 4.7 percent in February 2021, from 4.2 percent in January 2021, based on the latest report of Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). This is the highest inflation rate posted in the past two years.
“We see no end in sight on the rising prices because the government can only see importation as an easy one-shot solution. Increasing the Minimum Access Volume (MAV) and lowering tariffs are more damaging than helpful,” KMP Chairperson Danilo Ramos said.
Ramos was referring to the proposal of DA to increase the Minimum Access Volume (MAV) allocation on pork imports to 404,000 metric tons (MT) from the current 54,000 MT. Aside from this, DA is also proposing to temporarily bring down the in-quota and out-quota tariff on pork imports up to 5 to 10 percent.
According to Ramos, such proposals disregarded the plea of small and medium hog raisers to refrain from importation and instead aid local raisers.
“Importation is a skewed solution. Why import 400 million MT of pork when the projected shortfall is only at 150 million MT? Like a broken record, we are relaying our situation and demands to the DA over and over again. However, our repeated plea and appeals keep falling on deaf ears,” Ramos said, citing the pork holidays conducted by vendors and retailers to rattle DA over the situation.
KMP’s statement was released as part of the Livestock and Poultry Stakeholders Workshop that was held on Friday.
Organized by raisers, food producers, and farmers, the workshop is the first in a series of food production workshops under the National Food Systems Summit 2021.
The output from these workshops will be forwarded as demands and policy recommendations to the government’s Food Security Summit this April.
Among those who joined the workshop include KMP, Magsasaka at Siyentista para sa Agrikultura, Danny Fausto of the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc., Chester Tan of the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc, Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women, FARMERS Inc.-Bicol, and farmers and raisers associations from Bulacan, Laguna, Nueva Ecija, Albay, Negros, Cordillera, and other non-government organizations.
Legislators from Bayan Muna and Magsasaka Partylist gave their reactions and statements to the plight of farmers and food producers during the workshop.