GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 18 February) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) has set the farm-gate rate of live hogs in the area at P144 per kilo as it moved to lower the prices of pork in the local markets.
Arlan Mangelen, DA-Region 12 executive director, issued Special Order No. 15 on Wednesday afternoon setting the suggested live weight price based on the prevailing rates of commercial hog producers in the region.
He said the move was aimed to stabilize the prices of pork, which already reached as high as PHP300 per kilo in the markets.
The order will “take effect immediately after publication and/or posting in the department’s website and remain in effect unless revised, revoked or lifted,” he said.
Mangelen said there is a need to manage the prices of prime and basic necessities, including pork, to ease the impact of the continuing coronavirus disease 2019 or Covid-19 pandemic among residents.
He said the situation was aggravated by the effects of the series of calamities and the onslaught of the African Swine Fever.
“(We are mandated) to ensure the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities at reasonable prices at all times,” he noted in his order.
The official said they may issue suggested retail prices (SRP) for a range of goods within their areas of jurisdiction to inform and guide producers, manufacturers, traders, sellers, retailers and consumers.
DA-12, through Mangelen, issued Special Order No. 6 last Jan. 28, setting the SRP for pork kasim at P188 and liempo at P192 per kilo but retailers continued to sell them at higher prices.
Market vendors here earlier claimed that they could not comply with the suggested rates since they directly purchase live hogs from producers at P170 per kilo.
Mangelen said the region, especially this city and nearby South Cotabato, have enough hog supplies, giving no reason for vendors and retailers to jack up the pork prices.
He said a portion of the area’s hog production remains in the local markets even as producers have increased their shipments to Metro Manila and Luzon in the past several weeks to help address the shortage there.
The South Cotabato Swine Producers Association earlier committed to deliver at least 10,000 heads of live hogs and frozen carcass per week to Metro Manila at farm-gate prices of P144 per kilo and transportation subsidy of P21 per kilo from DA.
Mangelen said they will continue to monitor the prices of pork and other farm products in the local markets through the Regional Bantay Presyo Monitoring Team.
The team visited the main public market in Koronadal City on Wednesday as part of its regular monitoring activities.
During the visit, Mangelen advised meat vendors to access the much cheaper beef and pork products directly from the “Kadiwa ni Ani program” of DA-12.
The official said the agency will investigate and seek necessary sanctions against suppliers and piggery owners who are taking advantage of the situation and selling pork at unreasonable prices. (MindaNews)