‘Galunggong’ imports to stabilize fish prices
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has allowed the importation of “galunggong” (round scad) to address the rising prices of the fish variety in the market.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol signed an administrative order on Wednesday night allowing the importation of 17,000 metric tons of galunggong, to be sold in wet markets.
According to Ed Gongona, director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the importation would ensure that prices of the fish would stabilize “despite the lack of supply in the market.”
The fish is usually imported from Vietnam, China or Taiwan.
In an earlier interview, Piñol said the reduction in the fishery sector’s output was noted after the bureau restricted commercial vessels from fishing in municipal waters.
Since then, “there have been about a 20- to 22-percent reduction in the catch.”
Gongona said the stricter implementation of the law was made “to lessen relentless fishing operations by commercial vessels.”
“As we are trying to harmonize commercial and municipal fishing, importation is the immediate and short-term solution … this is to ensure food security in the long-run,” he added.
Since last year, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed an 11.89-percent reduction in galunggong production last year.
It further declined to 7.36 percent in the first semester.
Currently, a suggested retail price of P140 a kilogram is imposed on galunggong, but Gongona said that with the lack of supply, some vendors were forced to sell it by as much as P170 per kilogram.
Last month, the country’s inflation rate hit a five-year high of 5.7 percent following the increase in the retail prices of food items in the market, especially fish.
Piñol is looking to institutionalize the importation of fish in line with the country’s food security program, adding that they would want stakeholders, particularly fisheries cooperatives, to be able to import, too.
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