MANILA, Philippines - The price of canned sardines is expected to rise by P1 on September 19, as the supply of tamban or herring fish dwindles.
Several canned sardine manufacturers have already said prices of their products will go up by 6 to 8% due to the rising price of herring fish and higher fuel costs. The Philippine Amalgamated Groceries and Supermarkets Association said the price hike will be implemented on September 19.
However, the Department of Trade and Industry wants to meet with the sardine manufacturers regarding their plan to hike prices. Trade Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said the group informed the DTI last August they will be increasing prices only by P0.25 to P0.30.
Francis Chung, director of the Sardine Association of the Philippines, blamed the escalating costs of herring fish in the market, from P22 per kilo to now P27 per kilo.
"A one peso increase per can. It's quite expensive," Chung said.
Manufacturers warned if the supply of tamban would not improve by November, there will not be enough for December to February next year.
"We're praying that the fish come so that prices will not go up... Frankly, I don't know what to do," Chung added.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has already agreed to the group's request to move the ban on fishing of tamban to December from the original November 1 date.
However, if the supply of tamban does not improve, the BFAR said this is a sign it must prolong the the fishing ban to allow stocks to be replenished.
"Kahit siguro 6 na buwan, hindi natin papayagan mahuli yan, kung talagang lalabas na may shortage. Gusto niyo ho ba na walang sardinas ng 1 taon or walang sardinas ng habang panahon (Maybe we won't allow any fishing for 6 months, if it comes out that there is really a shortage. Do you want to have no sardines for a year or no sardines forever?)," said Asis Perez, director of BFAR.
The DTI said there is a need for consultations with the sardine manufacturers regarding the new price adjustment.
"Dati may consultation kami but it was based on P0.25 to P0.30 increase, pero ngayon P1 na daw. We will check on that. If may bagong adjustment, panibagong usapan po (We had previous consultations but that was based on P0.25 to P0.30 increase, but now they are talking about a P1 increase. We need to check on that. If there is a new adjustment, there should be new discussions," Maglaya told dzMM.
Meanwhile, manufacturers of canned meat products denied there will be price increase.
"Wala kaming basis as of now to increase our prices. The tin cans have not increased their prices. The raw materials have decreased their price," said Felix Tiukinhoy, president of the Philippine Association of Meat Processors.
He adds that if the peso continues to strengthen and the cost of tin cans stabilize, prices of canned meat will not increase until the holidays. - with reports from Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News and dzMM