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Farmers urge gov’t to lower pork prices

THE spike in pork prices does not only affect Metro Manila residents, for these are also felt in regions including Bicol.

Based on data from the Department of Agriculture (DA) Bicol, the prices of pork products on January 27 in Legazpi City range from 280 pesos (pork ham) to 290 (pork belly) pesos. The average cost per kilo of pork before African Swine Fever outbreaks was at P190 to P200 per kilo, according to Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

During the Senate hearing on the rising prices of pork, chicken, vegetable, and food, the KMP filed a position paper to encourage the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Agrarian Reform to find ways to bring back the prices of pork meat prices to levels before the ASF struck the country.

“There are doable ways to do this as stipulated in the Price Act of 1992. Either through price freeze or price ceiling, the government [can help] pull down the prices of pork to affordable levels,” said KMP chairperson emeritus and Anakpawis Partylist Chairman Rafael Mariano.

According to him, the government has enough budget to grant support prices and subsidies [to local producers].”

But instead of doing that, the DA opted for importation as a solution. The group strongly opposed this with Mariano reiterating that what the local hog raisers and breeders need are aides like repopulation and transportation support to address the negative production of pork and chicken.

The KMP added that “instead the government must focus on strengthening the local production and crafting self-reliant food policies. We have seen the pitfalls of over importation at the expense of our local producers.”

Mariano said that decreasing the tariff on imported mechanically deboned meat from 30% to 5% is like removing the tariff altogether. He also noted that ASF came from imported pork in the first place.

According to KMP, “industry players in hog and chicken raising said they are also amenable to price ceilings as long as there are significant subsidies and support for them.”

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