THE one-month-old price controls for pork need to be replaced by higher suggested retail prices, representatives of the hog farming industry said.

Edwin G. Chen, president of the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines, said in a mobile phone message that a suggested retail price (SRP) for pork ranging from P330 to P360 per kilogram be set for Metro Manila markets.

“The price ceiling should be changed to an SRP instead. Then monitoring teams from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) can be sent to wet markets to check prices,” Mr. Chen said.

“This will prevent profiteering. Also, we will police our own ranks to avoid high prices,” he added.

Mr. Chen said that on Feb. 27, the industry expressed its willingness to the Department of Agriculture (DA) to adopt an SRP scheme of P330 to P360 per kilogram of pork.

“The P330 to P360 per kilogram will be the upper limit. Pork shoulder (kasim) can be priced at P270 to P330 per kilogram, while pork belly (liempo) can be at P300 to P360, without the DA transport subsidy” Mr. Chen said.

“A price ceiling without proper consultation will result in an unsuccessful effort,” he added.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 124 on Feb. 1 in response to rising retail pork prices, capping the retail price of pork and chicken sold in Metro Manila markets. The EO was implemented on Feb. 8, a week after its signing, to provide a grace period for the hog industry.

Under EO 124, the price of kasim was set at P270 per kilogram; liempo at P300 per kilogram; and whole chicken at P160 per kilogram.

Separately, the DA said the total live hog deliveries to Metro Manila have hit 124,537 since the implementation of the price ceiling on Feb. 8. The DA’s response to rising pork prices was to encourage farmers in distant provinces to ship hogs or carcasses to Metro Manila, with a subsidy on shipping costs serving as inducement.

In its latest report, the DA said 5,506 live hogs were delivered to Metro Manila on March 5. The shipments included 2,350 live hogs came from Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon, with South Cotabato and General Santos providing 1,542 hogs, and Bulacan and Tarlac 398.

Other areas that shipped live hogs were Oriental Mindoro with 367, Bukidnon 350, Negros Oriental 260, and Camarines Sur and Sorsogon 239.

The DA said 31,826 kilograms of pork in carcass form were shipped from Central Luzon on March 5.

Since Feb. 8, the total carcass deliveries have hit 785,043 kilograms, mostly from Central Luzon. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave