LGU to adopt ‘win-win’ solution on pork’s sky rocketing prices
By Jason B. Neola
NAGA CITY --- After knowing that it is the prohibitive farm gate price of hogs as main culprit in the increasing prices of pork products, the city government here has immediately formed a working committee that will look for ways to come up with pork prices that are acceptable to sellers and consumers.
PORK PRICE CAP. Mayor Nelson Legacion (standing) discusses with the local meat vendors the current prices of pork products that continue to increase since December 2020. Also in photo are City Councilor Jose Perez (left), chairman of the Committee on Consumer Protection of the Sangguniang Panlungsod and NMIS Bicol Regional Technical Director Alex Templonuevo.
Mayor Nelson Legacion said the city government will also look into the possibilities of restricting traders from other regions to buy hogs in the city, which meat vendors have identified as one of the reasons why there is a shortage in the supply of hogs in the market aside from the existence of African Swine Fever (ASF).
The dwindling number of hogs is being felt by the local pork industry here since the last quarter of 2020.
MEAT SHOP. Meat vendors at the Naga City People’s Mall say they keep selling meat products not so much but to provide their workers with jobs in this time of the pandemic. JBN/REY BAYLON/CEPPIO
“Perhaps, it can be done thru legislation or issuance of an executive order,” Legacion said about the plan to restrict big-time hog buyers from other regions to operate in the city. The buyers offer P190 to P200 for a for-sale hog, much higher than the P160 to P170 being offered by the local meat vendors.
Conrado Levina, president of chicken and meat vendors association at the Naga City People’s Mall (NCPM), said that his group is compelled to offer the same amount so that they can buy the hogs, which is the reason for the increase of the prices of hogs locally.
In an interview, an NCPM stallholder said that hog buyers from other regions even offer P500 as finder’s fee to “spotters” or middlemen who could help them find hogs in the barangays. She said that local meat vendors like her can only afford to pay the spotters P100 per head.
NCPM Manager Ramon Florendo, who is also the head of the Market Enterprise and Promotions Office (MEPO), reported that only around 50 percent of the total number of meat vendors at the public market are operating regularly.
As of Tuesday, Feb. 16, the working committee, which is composed of Regional Technical Director Alex Templonuevo of the National Meat Inspection Service, Dr. Adelina Losa of the Department of Agriculture, Dr. Esperanza Libunao of Consumers Action Group, Conrado Levina, president of the NCPM association of meat vendors and Councilor Jose Perez, was still in the process of determining the acceptable prices of pork and pork products.