DTI hikes SRP for salt, but says no shortage
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Thursday said the approved increase in suggested retail prices of salt comes after years of the prices remaining unchanged.
In its bulletin released on August 12, 2022, the DTI approved upward movements in prices of iodized rock salt to P21.75 for 500 grams and P23.00 for one kilogram.
In terms of iodized salt, the suggested retail price for a 100-gram pack is set at P4.50, while the price for a 250-gram pack ranges from P9.00 to P11.75 and P16.00 to P21.25 for a 500-gram pack. One kilogram of salt is priced at P29.00.
According to Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, the approved increase comes six years after their last hike, as she stressed there is no salt shortage across the country.
“On the issue of supply, we have sufficient supply kasi marami tayo… We have three or four large companies na gumagawa ng asin tapos meron pa tayong mga imported,” she said during a public briefing aired by PTV.
(We have a sufficient supply because we have a lot… We have three or four large companies that produce salt and we also have imports.)
According to Maki Pulido’s “24 Oras” report on Thursday, a salt farmer said there was a low production of salt due to the rainy season, and that there is only limited land for the production of salt.
“Dati nasa 20 mahigit, [ngayon] nasa walo o siyam lang na asinan,” said salt farm worker Leo Magbanua, referring to salt plantations.
Several salt farmers in Pangasinan also said their salt production also went down this month from 200 sacks in June to 100 sacks this month.
“Wala i-stop production ngayon. Maraming tumatawag sa amin pero hindi kami maka-deliver. Mga ganitong buwan talaga 'yung July, August, September,” salt farmer Basilio Javier said.
Meanwhile, vendors of dried fish in Sorsogon were also affected due to the salt price hike.
GMA News has sought comment from the Department of Agriculture.
DA Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban earlier said there is no increase in prices of salt. However, there is a shortage in the supply of common salt.
“Oo, ang laking problema niyan. I think it’s half a billion pesos worth kasi mag-iimport tayo,” he said.
Former DA Undersecretary Fermin Adriano, meanwhile, said that the salt industry was neglected when ASIN Law was passed, which required that the salt must be iodized.
Many of the salt farmers cannot afford to invest in the technology that is needed so even though the Philippines is surrounded by the sea, 90% of the country's supply is imported.
“We did not invest properly and there is this law that prevents us from producing just the ordinary salt so we import more than 90%,” Adriano said.
Based on the UN Comtrade database in 2021, the Philippines imported $34.06 million worth of salt, while exported $213,738.
In the 2018 data of the Census of Philippine Business and Industry, there were 26 salt production establishments in 2012, compared to 18 in 2018.
In terms of sugar, Castelo said a number of small retailers have also expressed their intent to sell white refined sugar at P70 per kilogram, similar to commitments made by major chains.
SM Supermarket, Robinsons Supermarket, and Puregold all earlier committed to sell sugar at P70 per kilogram, amid the high prevailing prices at the market.
Latest data from the Department of Agriculture (DA) show that prices of sugar in Metro Manila stand at P95 per kilogram for refined sugar, P75 for washed sugar, and P70 for brown sugar as of August 24.
“Okay naman, they are most welcome to join us kung kaya nila na makapagbenta rin ng P70 per kilo na white refined sugar, pero kasi wala namang benepisyo ito or tulong na binibigay ang government doon sa tatlong retail chains na binanggit,” Castelo said.
(They are most welcome to join us if they can sell white refined sugar at P70 per kilo, but the government does not provide benefits or assistance to the three retail chains mentioned.)
Castelo explained that the retail chains sell at lower prices as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, and the DTI only promotes them given the lower prices.
“Kung okay sila, they can signify their intention para maisali rin natin doon sa programa and we can also help promote them. Ang incentive natin, prino-promote natin ang stores na ito para puntahan ng tao at dun sila makabili ng murang asukal,” she said.
[If they are okay with it, they can signify their intention so they can be included in the program and we can also help promote them. The incentive is we promote their stores so the public can go and buy from them.] — with Richa Noriega/RSJ/BM, GMA News