|By pinoyfarmer | October 9, 2008|
Retail prices of choice pork items like liempo, pigue and kasim have started to go down in Metro Manila markets from their week-ago rates of as high as P160-P170 per kilo following last Monday’s agreement by major hog industry players and Department of Agriculture (DA) officials to adopt a “reference price” band of P140 to P150 for these prime cuts.
Yesterday morning’s market inspection visits by Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap showed that these choice pork cuts now sell for an average P140 to P145 a kilo, with the retail cost dropping to as low as P135 in some stalls in the Mega Q-Mart, Quezon City.
Aside from this Mega Q-Mart where the lowest retail price was monitored, Yap also instructed DA Assistant Secretary Salvador Salacup and Bureau of Animal Industry Director Davinio Catbagan to monitor more markets to check on whether the agreement reached with industry players ranging from producers and meat processors to wholesalers and retailers on a “reference price” during the DA-hosted dialogue had started “to bear fruit.”
Yap expressed optimism that the price drop will boost consumer demand, thus benefiting not only the consumers in the form of cheaper pork items but the producers and traders as well in the form of higher sales and more profits.
He said that, “As agreed upon during the Oct. 6 dialogue at the DA central office, agriculture officials and the hog industry players would be meeting on a regular basis to review the ‘reference price’ accord and to take up other concerns that are meant to ensure the steady supply at reasonable prices of prime pork cuts, especially during the Christmas season.
At the end of the three-hour meeting at the DA last Monday, over 30 industry players in attendance agreed to pull down the cost of prime pork cuts ahead of yuletide by agreeing on a “reference price” ranging from P140 to P150 per kilo of choice cuts.
This reference price band was arrived at during the meeting after DA officials and the private-sector stakeholders had reached a consensus on the reasonable profit margins for growers, wholesalers and retailers.
Market data discussed during the dialogue showed that while the farmgate price ranges from P75 to P88 per kilo, the retail cost now average P140 a kilo for all cuts, but with the price of liempo and other prime cuts reaching as high as P160 to P170 in Metro Manila markets.
Among the industry players present during the DA dialogue were Rene Eleria, chairman of the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. (NFHFI); Albert Lim, NFHFI president; Soledad Agbayani, president of the Philippine Association of Hog Raisers Inc. (PAHRI); Dan Gomez, chairman of the Meat Handler and Dealer Association of the Philippines (MHDAP); and Jess Cham, president of the Meat Importers and Trader Association (MITA).
Also present were Jerome Ong, vice president of the Philippine Association of Meat Processor Inc. (PAMPI); Emar Ozaeta, marketing manager of Gemsun Marketing; Rico Geron of the Sorosoro Ibaba Development Corporation; and Rep. Nicanor Briones of the partylist AGAP.
Ramon Galicia, general manager of the Maypajo Market Multi-Purpose Cooperative; Ruben Tristan Avillanosa, market supervisor of Commonwealth Market; Lorna Valdez, market master of Pritil Market, and other retailer-representatives from different markets in Metro Manila also attended the meeting.
Aside from Yap , the other DA officials who attended the dialogue were Salacup, Catbagan and Director Carlos Mendoza of the Livestock Development Council (LDC).
Prior to Monday’s dialogue, DA officials have already been meeting with hog industry leaders to discuss their concerns over certain issues saddling the livestock subsector, notably the big spread between the farmgate and retail prices of pork cuts.
DA officials have also denied reports of a government ban on meat imports to the Philippines .
Last week, Catbagan was instructed by Yap to directly establish linkages between hog producers and meat processors, to discuss, among other concerns about the domestic supply and pricing of pork items.
Salacup said that plans are being firmed up to link backyard hog growers with meat traders like PAMPI and MITA.
As for reports of a ban on meat imports, Catbagan made it clear last week that there was no such directive issued by the Secretary, adding that Yap had merely asked the DA’s regulatory agencies to review the issuance of import permits for agricultural products as part of the Department’s intensified efforts to curb smuggling.
“There is no ban,” Catbagan said. “The instruction of the Secretary is in view of the alleged rampant smuggling in the hog sector, he instructed the DA regulatory agencies such as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Bureau of Plant Industry and BAI to review the issuance of import permits to determine if there are lapses.”
He added that, “There was no instruction to suspend the issuance of import permits or authority for any particular agricultural product.”