‘No longer a poor man’s fish’: Price control on galunggong sought
MANILA, Philippines — A militant fishers’ group on Friday urged the government to impose price control on galunggong (round scad) to stabilize the prices amid the supply shortage.
The retail price of galunggong of P250 a kilo is “unreasonable,” when its farm gate price in Palawan, for instance, is only at around P60 to P80, according to Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya).
“This unreasonable pricing is mainly caused by government’s failure to regulate private fish traders who secure their profits by jacking up the wholesale prices and eventually pushes up retail prices at unaffordable levels,” Pamalakaya National Chairperson Fernando Hicap said in a statement.
Pamalakaya’s statement came in the heels of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) decision to import 60,000 metric tons of galunggong and mackerel to cover the expected shortage of supply, mainly blaming the onslaught of Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai) as a reason for the lack of supply.
The annual ban on fishing to allow fish species to spawn and recover in the Northeast Palawan Sea, Visayan Sea and the waters around the Zamboanga Peninsula could also cause a shortage in supply.
However, this move was put under a firestorm of criticism from senators, which Hicap echoed, pointing out that importation is still harmful to the local fishing industry.
“Instead of importation which is harmful to the local fishing industry, the DA should intervene by imposing a price ceiling on fish that would be reasonable and beneficial to local producers, retailers, and consumers,” Hicap said.
“This effort would preempt greedy wholesalers and traders from manipulating the prices of galunggong and other fishery products that serve as primary protein sources for many Filipinos,” he added.
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