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DA sets emergency meet with chicken producers over high prices


Concerned over high prices of chicken, the Department of Agriculture will hold an emergency meeting with chicken producers Tuesday afternoon to discuss the matter. DA Secretary Proceso Alcala said he wants to find out why chicken prices are high even if the normal "barometers" indicate chicken prices should be normal. "(Noon) ang demand ng manok tumaas gawa ng pagkakasira ng isda sa merkado so inunawa natin. Pero ngayon, normal ang presyo ng isda, halos kaunti na lang ang baba, dapat ibalik na sa datihang presyo ng mga magmamanok ang kanilang presyo para di mahirapan ang ating kababayan," Alcala said in an interview on dwIZ radio. (We understood a slight increase in chicken prices due to increased demand caused by a recent fish kill. But now, demand for fish is going back to normal and so is demand for chicken. So prices of chicken should have gone back to normal.) But he cited reports reaching him indicating some vendors sell chicken at P135 to P140 per kilo instead of the normal P130 per kilo. "Dapat ang dahilan either lumakas nang sobra ang demand o nawala ang supply o kung tumaas ang pagkain. Sa tatlong barometro natin lahat ay normal eh. So wala kaming makitang dahilan, mukhang talagang gustong pansamantalahan ng iba nating mamamayan, huwag naman. Obligasyon ng kagawaran na bigyan ng proteksyon ang mamimili," Alcala said. (The reason for a price hike should have been low supply or high prices of feeds, or high demand. But our three barometers show prices should be normal. The only conclusion we can reach is that some people are trying to exploit the situation. And the DA's obligation is to protect consumers.)
Alcala said he has scheduled the emergency meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday. He said he expects the producers and vendors to explain the high prices of chicken. If no satisfactory explanation can be given, he said he will be forced to allow the importation of chicken to bring down prices. "Mapilitan ako pumirma ng importation sa nakikipagusap sa atin mag-import. This will surely lessen the price of chicken in the market. Ayoko sana gawin pero dapat nila malaman di pwede mapagsamantala ang ating kababayan," he said. (I may be forced to allow the importation of chicken to boost supply and lessen the price of chicken in the market. I don't want to do this but I may have to, just to counter the overpricing.) Alcala also rejected the possibility that the damage caused by Tropical Storm Falcon (Meari) could have prompted an increase in chicken prices. He said that of the P692 million damage to agriculture in 13 provinces, livestock suffered "only" P1 million. "Ito minimal ito, sa nawalang baboy, baka, doon sa Mindanao. Hindi ito malaking halaga, P1 million lang (It is not enough reason to jack up chicken prices. Much of the livestock lost involved pigs and cows in Mindanao)," he said. Holiday season Alcala said Tuesday's meeting will also take up ways to ensure supply of meat for the holidays, at least up to January 2012. He said he will call another meeting next week, this time with pork producers. "Ang manok sa Pilipino 35 days nakaka-address. Ang baboy we need 4-6 months (Filipino growers can meet supply demands for chickens in 35 days, but hog growers need four to six months)," he said. — RSJ, GMA News
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