A REORGANIZATION within San Miguel Corp. (SMC) that gives its Monterey meat brand control over hog sourcing is expected to realize efficiencies that will help bring down pork prices overall, SMC’s president said.

In a radio interview Wednesday, SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang justified the revamp as a measure to save on logistics costs, a significant component of meat prices, which have been rising recently, threatening a new inflation crisis.

“Our purpose to do this is to bring down the cost of pork. It will be more efficient and cheaper since the slaughterhouse to be used for the hogs will be in the local community instead. There is no need to move the live hogs,” Mr. Ang said.

Mr. Ang rejected rumors that SMC will cease operations of its Monterey brand after the transfer.

Hindi magsasara ang Monterey. (Monterey will not close.)… Operations will not stop,” Mr. Ang said.

According to Mr. Ang, the company operates two piggeries, one in Bulacan and another in Bukidnon, and the decision to reorganize around local growers and local slaughter was due to transport issues.

“Our piggeries experienced difficulties in production due to the proliferation of African Swine Fever (ASF),” Mr. Ang said.

He said under the scheme, local growers will be able to access SMC’s piggeries in Bulacan and Bukidnon, with efficiencies expected because the growers will be “hands-on,” Mr. Ang said.

SMC’s San Miguel Foods announced earlier that it is seeking to transfer its nationwide hog inventory and facilities to local operators, allowing them to supply their respective areas.

It said the transport of pork products has been hampered by movement bans that were implemented to contain ASF.

Meanwhile, SMC said in a statement Wednesday that it will set the wholesale price of its chicken and pork products intended for wet markets at “least cost” for the duration of the 60-day price ceiling in Metro Manila.

It said SMC hopes to allow distributors and resellers an opportunity to earn a profit even while observing the price ceilings.

Recently, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Executive Order No. 124 which capped the prices of pork shoulder (kasim) at P270 per kilogram, pork belly (liempo) at P300, and whole chicken at P160.

Further, SMC said it will maintain the wholesale price of pork which it charges its Monterey franchisees to make the products affordable.

“We will closely monitor prices to make sure those in our chain will follow the price caps. This way, we can help ensure that prices in wet markets will go down to the level of government-mandated prices, so that more consumers will benefit,” Mr. Ang said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave