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DA blames storms, ASF for hike in prices of agri goods; SRP to be reviewed

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is now looking into adjusting the suggested retail price (SRP) of agricultural goods, as it blamed the recent storms and the African swine fever (ASF) for the recent spike in prices.

DA spokesperson Noel Reyes said Agriculture Secretary William Dar has ordered the review of the SRP.

"Nag-utos po si Secretary sa Bantay Presyo at sa AMAS na reviewhin itong SRP," he said in an online briefing on Tuesday.

He was referring to Bantay Presyo task force tasked to monitor and ensure the stability of prices and supply of agriculture commodities, and the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance (AMAS).

The DA in November issued SRP for basic agricultural commodities sold in Metro Manila's wet markets excluding supermarkets, as it said changing cost structures in the supply chain require updating to allow retailers a "reasonable" profit.

However, price increases were reported in primary goods such as pork and vegetables, as well as spices such as chili or labuyo prices reported at a high of P1,000 per kilogram.

"Talagang tinamaan tayo ng bagyo. Malakas po 'yan at karamihan po 'yan karamihan ay gulay... Ang karamihan natin na nabibigay na dahilan ay ang ating pagdaan sa bagyo, itong apat na bagyong nagdaan nitong last quarter ng 2020," said Reyes.

"Again, nakikiusap tayo sa ating mga kasamang traders at meron pong mga tindero, tindera na 'wag naman tataasan ang kanilang patong sa mga gulay at prutas," he added.

A series of typhoons hit the Philippines last year, including Typhoon Ulysses, which claimed at least 67 lives and leaving billions in damages.

Price monitoring of the DA as of January 18 shows that prevailing prices of vegetables in Metro Manila are as follows per kilogram —cabbage at P200; carrots at P120; habichuelas or Baguio beans at P80; white potato at P120; pechay Baguio at P150; and sayote at P40.

Meanwhile, prices of pork ham were reported at P360 per kilogram versus the SRP of P260 per kilogram, and pork belly at P400 per kilogram versus the SRP of P290 per kilogram.

"Meron po talagang kakulangan. Unang una, may kulang ang supply ng baboy bunsod ng ASF," Reyes said, noting that supply has gone down by 4 million to 8 million from 12.7 million a year ago, as several raisers chose not to raise hogs this year due to fears of the ASF.

Moving forward, the DA said it is now working to source more vegetables from regions that were not affected by the recent storms, and more pork from areas that were not hit by the ASF.

The DA first confirmed the presence of the ASF in the Philippines in September 2019. It blamed the outbreak mainly on imports from China and the practice of swill feeding.—AOL, GMA News