THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it will counter high fish prices in Tagbilaran, Bohol with its own fish market, with the intent of providing competition for business interests allegedly manipulating fish prices there.
The market will feature products offered directly from fishermen and will be preparatory measure ahead of the possible establishment of a Suggested Retail Price (SRP) system in the province, the DA said.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said that the fish market will follow the template of the DA’s TienDA stores for farm produce.
“I was challenged because when I went there, the fish were expensive. I was wondering why and apparently it’s because the businessmen control the price of fish,” he added.

seafood market
Seafood market — AFP

“So we [have to] follow the concept of TienDA, the alternative network supply system that directly connects the consumers to the producers to drive down the price.”
Mr. Piñol also said that the fish market concept includes dining and cooking facilities for customers who want their fish cooked on the spot, providing additional income for fishermen.
“[This is a] whole value chain with the [eateries]. We will put up refrigerated facilities,” he added.
“[Transportation] Secretary [Arthur P.] Tugade offered about 50 units which will serve as cold-storage facilities for the fish and we will put these [near] the fishing grounds.”
The market will also offer farm goods sourced from Bohol and nearby provinces.
Asked why the DA has no SRP system in place for Bohol, Mr. Piñol said that department needs to understand the workings of the market for produce.
“To implement an SRP, we should understand the problem behind the supply issue. We can impose an SRP but the sellers might be on the losing end,” he added.
So far, only wet markets in Metro Manila have been placed under an SRP regime, covering eight agricultural products.
The DA’s other plans for Bohol include a dairy center based around cattle from the Ubay Stock Farm, pending the arrival of Girolando cows from Mexico. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato