THE government is mulling over releasing a suggested retail price (SRP) on pork products anew—both local and imported ones —following a sudden spike in prices of locally-produced kasim and liempo in the domestic market, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

The DA explained that the measure seeks to temper the increase of pork prices as the holiday season nears, when demand is anticipated to pick up.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said he will receive a formal recommendation from concerned agencies after they conduct consultations with stakeholders on whether or not to implement an SRP.

Dar pointed out that the recent uptick in locally-produced pork prices is one of the main considerations for the SRP.

“We saw an upward movement in pork prices. Within the week, I will be receiving a formal recommendation. There are already ongoing discussions between our operations and livestock groups and consumers group,” he said in a virtual press briefing on Monday.

“We will have a decision within the week whether the SRP mechanism will be followed or not,” he added.

Dar revealed that part of the ongoing discussions on SRP is to implement it among both locally-produced and imported pork products.

Citing the DA’s price monitoring reports, Agriculture Undersecretary for Consumer and Political Affairs Kristine Y. Evangelista said the retail price of locally-produced pork kasim last week rose by P40 per kilogram to P320 per kilogram from P280 kilogram in October. Evangelista added that the price of locally-produced pork liempo increased by P20 per kilogram to P360 per kilogram from P340 per kilogram.

Dar said the recent uptick in pork prices could be attributed to an increase in demand stimulated by the opening up of the country’s economy.

“This Christmas season, that is a factor. Besides, our supply is still challenged. The increase in supply due to repopulation is not that huge yet. But with the opening up of the economy, we see that the demand is higher,” he added.

Chillers, reefers

The agriculture chief added that one of the measures they are fast-tracking in order to temper the possible further rise in pork prices is the distribution of chillers and reefer vans to eligible beneficiaries. Wet markets that have chillers and reefer vans can sell frozen pork since a proper refrigeration system is required by law for the sale of frozen meat products.

“We have to bring out more pork to the market and that is what the NMIS [National Meat Inspection Service]and BAI are focusing on,” Dar said.

The DA’s P45-million cold storage facilities subsidy program may be rolled out soon after the agency issued the guidelines for the release of funds to local government units (LGUs).

Last week, Agriculture Undersecretary William C. Medrano said the DA is now in the process of signing memoranda of agreement (MOA) with partner LGUs for the subsidy program that seeks to modernize wet market refrigeration systems through the provision of chillers and reefer vans.

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