Price caps extend to imported pork in supermarkets–Palace | Inquirer News
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Price caps extend to imported pork in supermarkets–Palace

/ 05:34 AM February 05, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte’s order to impose price ceilings on pork being sold in Metro Manila’s public markets for 60 days will also cover imported pork found in supermarkets, Malacañang said on Thursday.

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Pork products sold in the supermarkets are imported at a cheaper price, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

“The Department of Trade and Industry, through Secretary [Ramon] Lopez, promised that henceforth, there will be a label that pork sold in supermarkets are imported. And if these are imported pork, they are subject to price cap,” Roque said in a press briefing.

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Under Executive Order No. 124, which was issued on Monday following consumer complaints of rising prices of pork and chicken, the price ceiling for pork cuts of “kasim” and “pigue” was set at P270 per kilo, while that for “liempo” was P300.

For dressed chicken, the price ceiling was set at P160 per kilo.

Pork prices were rising as the local hog industry battles the spread of African swine fever, which has led to a shortage in supply. The country has a shortfall of 400,000 metric tons, Roque noted.

Supply boost

To augment the supply, Roque said the Department of Agriculture (DA) and its attached agencies and corporations would buy pork from the Visayas, Mindanao and other swine fever-free areas in Luzon, and bring these to markets in Metro Manila this weekend.

If these would not be enough, the government would be forced to import pork from other countries, he said.

The President has approved the DA’s recommendation to study the possible increase in the volume of pork imports to cover the shortfall in supply, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

He also gave the go signal for the creation of a sub-task group on economic intelligence to go after smugglers, profiteers and hoarders of agricultural products, Nograles said.

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The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business group, has supported the call for more pork imports to help ease the current shortage and stabilize prices across the food value chain. (See related story in Business, Page B3.)

Calibrated importation

In a statement, PCCI president Benedicto V. Yujuico proposed the calibrated importation of pork as an immediate remedy “until such time that the spread of the African swine fever is curbed and local hog raisers can safely return to their industry.”

A chamber representative explained that a calibrated importation meant balancing the available local production with the amount of importation “to avoid [an] artificial inflationary effect on the prices of products.”

“The risk of contamination and spread of the virus is really high because there is no available vaccine yet for [the swine fever] … A calibrated importation program is an option [the] government can consider to secure supply and bring down the price of pork,” Yujuico said.

Yujuico said the move was attuned to the DA’s food security program, especially at this time when supply is inadequate and prices are soaring.

Cold storage

The PCCI said the DA and the government’s economic team should continue to strengthen local production through more accessible financing and technology and infrastructure support, including additional cold storage warehouses, for the agriculture sector.

Roque said the department would help revive the swine industry through a repopulation program, for which P1 billion had already been set aside.

Another P500 million would be made available for zero-interest loans for backyard and semicommercial raisers, while P15 billion would be set aside for commercial raisers, he said.

The DA has also made arrangements to buy vaccines for the African swine fever, he added. With a report from Roy Stephen C. Canivel

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TAGS: ‎mall, market, Pork, price ceiling, Prices, supermarket
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