MANILA - Pork prices continue to rise as African swine fever (ASF) decimates hog populations across Luzon, while chicken prices have also gone up as supplies dwindled with many poultry farms having gone bankrupt last year.
Prices of pork products such as pork belly have soared to as high as 380 to 400 pesos a kilo in major public markets in Metro Manila, way higher than the suggested retail price of 225 pesos a kilo.
The price of pork was among the factors that drove inflation to a 22-month high in December, according to the state statistics bureau, and prices of pork products are unlikely to come down anytime soon.
Agriculture advocacy group SINAG said African swine fever affected 70 percent of pork supply in Luzon, prompting buyers to source from Mindanao and Visayas.
But even certain parts of Davao and South Cotabato are now also affected by ASF.
“Ang tingin natin by mid of this year baka mahirapan na ang Mindanao to supply Luzon so aasahan na lang natin yung sa Visayas. Mas lalong tataas (ang presyo) kasi siyempre marami nang aagaw doon sa area dun sa area na kukunin di ba? So lalong tataas ang presyo,” said SINAG chairman Rosendo So.
(We see that by the middle of this year, even Mindanao will find it hard to supply Luzon, so we will have to rely on Visayas. Prices will rise even more because more buyers will be competing for supplies from that area. So prices will rise even more.)
In Luzon, the hog population has dwindled to 1.5 million from around 6.2 million before ASF struck.
So does not see the supply of pork stabilizing within the year or for as long as the ASF continues to threaten the industry.
The Department of Agriculture said it is now allocating more funds for hog production in ASF-free areas in Mindanao.
“We have to make sure na lahat ng ASF-free mapondohan natin para dumami para dumami ang kanilang safe meat at mapadala natin sa Metro Manila kung saan nga po ngayon eh nakakaranas tayo ng kakulangan,” Agriculture Assistant Secretary Kristine Evangelista .
(We have to make sure that all ASF-free areas receive funding so they can supply more safe meat to Metro Manila which is now having shortages.)
Even the price of chicken soared after the holidays. A kilo now costs as much as P200, which is P70 more than the suggested retail price.
Evangelista says there is also a problem in the supply after many broiler raisers went bankrupt the previous year.
“Maraming mga naluging magmamanok noon at they decided huwag na lang ipagpatuloy ang kanilang negosyo and this greatly affected our inventory at ripple effect kaya po tumaas ang presyo,” she said.
(Many poultry farmers went bankrupt last year and they decided to discountinue their business and this greatly affected our inventory and there's a ripple effect which is why prices have risen.)
The agency is now looking at adjusting the suggested retail price and funding areas of production for more supply.