THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said the imposition of a Suggested Retail Price (SRP) scheme on selected farm goods will take effect initially in Metro Manila wet markets.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol on Monday signed the administrative circular during the 120th anniversary of the department, officially imposing SRPs on eight agricultural produce in an attempt to “stabilize” prices in the market.
“This will only be in the wet markets to protect the ordinary consumers. Those who go to the supermarket, since they want the place where they buy their goods to be air conditioned, then they’ll pay a premium,” Mr. Piñol told reporters.
The DA set an SRP of P39 per kilogram (kg) for regular-milled rice. Bangus or milkfish and tilapia SRPs were set at P150 per kg and P100, respectively. The SRP for galunggong, or round scad, was set at P140 per kg.
The SRP for red onion was set at P95 per kg. while that for white onion was P75. The SRP for imported garlic was P70 per kg, against P120 per kg for domestic garlic.
Mr. Piñol said on Friday that the DA set the SRPs based on consultation with stakeholders.
Mr. Piñol said the DA hopes to set SRPs for commodities in other regions.
The department will also be teaming up with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of the Interior and Local Government for price monitoring.
Under SRP rules, sellers found to be charging 10% above the limit could be charged with profiteering, Mr. Piñol said.
Trade Undersecretary for Consumer Protection Ruth B. Castelo told BusinessWorld in a text message that the DA has sought its assistance in monitoring wet market prices.
“Supposedly [it should be] effective today but DA said to wait for their official communication with us on the SRPs and the request for monitoring,” she added.
“We only heard in the new that they already released SRP for agri products but no formal communication with us as of [Monday] morning.” — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato