SOME 3,907 live hogs and 37,389 kilograms (kg) of pork were delivered to Metro Manila on Feb. 20 as the government tapped available supply in the provinces in a bid to fend off an inflation crisis headlined by rising pork prices.

In a report on Feb. 20, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said some 2,679 live hogs were sourced from Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) and were delivered to public markets in Quezon City, including Q-Mart, Farmers Market, Novaliches, and Fairview.

According to the DA, the carcasses were distributed to public markets in Caloocan City, Quezon City, and the Manila districts of Sampaloc and Tondo, among others.

The DA said that as of Feb. 20, a total of 62,257 live hogs and 345,229 kg in carcass form have been transported to Metro Manila since the implementation of the price ceiling on pork products on Feb. 8.

Calabarzon accounted for 30,938 live hogs, followed by Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) at 7,564, Western Visayas 7,117, and Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos) 5,455.

For pork in carcass form, the DA said Central Luzon shipped 314,497 kg, followed by Bicol Region at 22,722 kg, and Zamboanga Peninsula at 7,800 kg.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 124 on Feb. 1 which capped pork prices after supply pressures caused by the decimation of the hog population due to African Swine Fever (ASF).

Under EO 124, the retail price of pork shoulder (kasim) was set at P270 per kg, pork belly (liempo) P300 per kg, and whole chicken P160 per kg.

The DA delayed the implementation of the price ceiling to Feb. 8 to provide the hog industry a grace period to adjust its stocks.

Edwin G. Chen, President of the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines, Inc. said the price ceilings should be lifted and more funds should be given to pork producers instead, to help them recover from ASF.

“The price cap should be lifted and the suggested retail price for pork should be set at P330 to P360 per kg,” Mr. Chen said in a mobile phone message.

Mr. Chen said the DA should help pork producers restore their herds after ASF.

“DA’s efforts should be focused on procuring piglets and giving them to backyard raisers to strengthen repopulation efforts,” Mr. Chen said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave