Agriculture officials said Tuesday the government may raise the suggested retail price (SRP) of agricultural goods after recent storms and the African swine fever (ASF) reduced production and caused a spike in prices.
Department of Agriculture spokesman Noel Reyes said Secretary William Dar has ordered the task force monitoring the prices of agriculture commodities to undertake the SRP review.
In November, the department issued SRP for basic agriculture commodities sold in Metro Manila wet markets to allow retailers “a reasonable profit.”
But prices for goods such as pork and vegetables rose sharply after that.
DA monitoring as of Jan. 18 shows that prevailing prices of vegetables in Metro Manila, per kilogram, are: cabbage at P200; carrots at P120; habichuelas or Baguio beans at P80; white potato at P120; pechay Baguio at P150; and sayote at P40.
Prices of pork ham were reported at P360 per kilogram against the SRP of P260 per kilogram, and pork belly at P400 per kilogram against the SRP of P290 per kilogram. Othel Campos and Vito Barcelo
As the DA considered raising the SRP on agricultural product, the Associated Labor Unions (ALU) urged the government to protect consumers from continuous price increases for basic and prime commodities in the middle of a pandemic.
The labor group said workers, particularly those receiving minimum wage, were outraged at the high prices of basic food items such as rice, vegetables, livestock meat and poultry products including cooking fuel liquified petroleum gas.
“The increments in prices picked up a week leading to the traditional Christmas family celebration and New Year revelry despite the 60-day price freeze imposed by a [government] task force beginning Nov.r 18, 2020 to Jan. 17, 2021 on basic and prime commodities,” ALU national executive vice president Gerard Seno said.
"The combined government agencies had already identified the gaps and problematic layers giving rise to these runaway prices of basic food commodities, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry now have to step up their price regulation mandate and level up their enforcement to further improve protection of consumers particularly against profiteers, supply hoarders and middlemen victimizing retailers and ordinary people, " he added. –