- MITCH M. LIPA
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson challenged hog raisers in Negros Occidental to band together, form their own group, sell their products directly to local markets and eliminate traders, whom he accused of apparently manipulating the price of the commodity.
Lacson’s call came amid the spiraling cost of pork meat in Metro Manila where it is sold between P400 to P450 per kilo.
Locally, pork meat is priced at a low of P200 a kilo to P228 recently, the Provincial Veterinary Office noted.
The effect of the price ceiling imposed by the national government on pork products in Metro Manila is expected to consequently bring down the cost of the commodity in the province.
Lacson cited that the price of live weight pig has already gone down by P20 per kilo for both commercial and backyard hog raisers, but as per PVO’s Feb. 1-8 monitoring, the adjusted price was not yet reflected in its report.
PVO head, Dr. Renante Decena, claimed the price of pork meat in major Bacolod City markets last week averaged P228 per kilo from P204 last week.
An independent check, however, showed the price actually ranges between P250 to P269 per kilo.
Decena also claimed the lowering of prices of live weight pigs started only this week, adding that it will probably be felt next week because some retailers bought their supplies from traders at old prices.
The sudden increase in the price of pork meat was triggered by the scarcity of live pigs in Luzon due to the African swine fever spread in some areas in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Metro Manila and Luzon markets rely on Visayas provinces for their pork supply, specifically from regions included in the ASF-free zone by the Department of Agriculture.
Last week, Lacson asked local hog raisers to limit the number of live pigs they are selling to Manila traders and prioritize local buyers instead in a bid to stabilize the price of the commodity in the province.
Lacson believed that the hog raisers should not be blamed for the rising price of pork.
He pointed to traders as the ones making money for allegedly manipulating pork prices given the current situation.
Lacson supported the move that backyard hog raisers in the province should form a group and take out the middle men in the buying and selling of their products.
If the hog raisers association act as the trader for both local and Manila markets, it will be to their advantage, he pointed out.
Lacson said the province will continue to provide support to backyard hog raisers.
Recently, P5 million was allocated by the provincial government for the Feeds Enhancement Program for hog raisers to improve their production.
Decena said swine-raising in Negros Occidental is a P6-billion industry.
There are more than 15,000 backyard hog raisers in the province with almost half a million heads of pigs, he added.
He said that it is the biggest backyard industry among provinces and partly supply the needs of Metro Manila markets. – MML