By Stephanie Sevillano
MANILA – The prices of pork products in Metro Manila slightly increased on Tuesday as compared to the first week of March, amid an expected lower demand due to the Lenten season.
According to the Department of Agriculture (DA)’s price monitoring, pork kasim now ranges from PHP290 per kilo to PHP360 per kilo, slightly higher than the first few weeks of March which was PHP280 to PHP330 a kilo.
The same goes with the pork liempo which now ranges from PHP330 to PHP420 per kilo, higher than the earlier range of PHP310 to PHP390 a kilo.
Likewise, the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines (Pro-pork) said a kilogram of live pork went up from PHP180 to PHP220.
Pro-pork also noted that there might be a thinning pork supply due to the spread of African swine fever (ASF) in the country.
DA deputy spokesperson Rex Estoperez, however, said they have yet to verify the looming pork supply shortage, considering that it will not only affect the industry but also the consumers with market prices.
The National Livestock Program, earlier warned of an 11-day pork supply shortage starting next month, which may worsen by June.
“That’s the projection, pero kung ilan yung i-verify natin, ibangga sa inventory (but whether how many shall be verified, it must be compared against the inventory) and harmonize with the stakeholders report kasi yan that’s prepared by the national livestock,” he said in an interview.
“Mahirap kasi ang magsabi na bagsak ang supply, mayroon pa tayong supply, may imbentaryo pa tayo. (It’s hard to say that we have a supply shortage, or we still have supply or inventory). We have to harmonize the data to come up with the final data,” he added.
Estoperez added that data shall be consolidated, including that from end-March, to determine if there is a need to import pork products.
“Everybody else they are saying that if there’s a shortage, then import. But if we decide on that strategy or option, (we should know) the final figure so that our livestock industry will not be harmed,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.
The DA also urged the local government units and other stakeholders to help the government raise awareness and exercise discipline in managing the ASF.
“As long as we do not cooperate and as long as we do not follow the protocol, talagang ganun ang mangyayari sa atin (that will certainly happen to us),” Estoperez said.
“So we urge our fellowmen, right now we are doing our best to coordinate with the local government units to avoid the spread, even to the public, we need to adhere because we might also be affected,” he added in mixed English and Filipino.
To date, there are around 10 provinces affected by the spread of ASF, which includes 48 municipalities in the country.
The DA maintained its stance to implement the global protocols to combat ASF, as it tries to push for an increase in indemnification funds to aid affected poultry farmers. (PNA)