MANILA - Prices of galunggong - which has soared to as high as P300 per kilo - may normalize by April 2020 once fishing season for the species resumes, Agriculture Sec. William Dar said Tuesday.
The Agriculture chief attributed the price hike of galunggong to the annual closed fishing season imposed against the "poor man's fish" to ensure that fingerlings would not be caught by fisherfolk.
"April open na ulit for capture. Mas marami ka na supply... so market laws of supply and demand will apply," he told reporters on the sidelines of his confirmation hearing at the Senate building.
The DA earlier imported about 45,000 tons of galunggong to stabilize market prices after the fish was labelled as among the Philippines' inflation pace-setters in 2018.
Senator Francis Tolentino slammed the move, citing Dar's earlier pronouncement that there was enough supply of galunggong in the market.
"Exactly 34 days ago, sinabi mo sa budget hearing na 98.5 percent ang ating round scad pero bakit ngayon nag-import na tayo ng galunggong? Tayo pa naman ang may 5th largest shoreline sa mundo," Tolentino said during Dar's confirmation hearing.
"Prior to the importation, as of Nov. 27, 2019, the retail price of round scad or galunggong is P220 pero after the importation, P320 na ang retail price. Nagmahal pa ang presyo," he said.
Dar said demand for galunggong pushed prices up, as he urged Filipinos to consume other fish varieties.
"Kung ngayon ay mataas, wag ka na muna bumili ng galunggong. Bili ka muna ng mas mura like bangus o tilapia," he said.