March 2, 2024

Bicol Express News

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Agriculture department eyes price watch on eggs

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As the high price of onions remains unabated in the market, another valued food item is reportedly adding to the price problems of ordinary consumers. Now the gov’t and consumers alike are facing the brewing high price of eggs, which is not only one of the cheaper agricultural products but also a key source of protein for many Filipinos.

According to the Department of Agriculture (DA) price monitoring report, the current selling price for a single, medium-sized egg in the markets in Metro Manila ranges from as low as P6.90 to as high as P8.70 as of Wednesday. This is higher than the price range of P5 to P6.50 apiece recorded during the same period last year.

To address the potential runaway price of eggs, the DA has reconvened the Price and Volume Watch Committee and Advisory Groups for Livestock and Poultry to closely monitor the prices of eggs across the country.

United Broilers Raisers Association (Ubra) Chair Mr. Gregorio San Diego, said that egg farmers had been dealing with high costs of production. He added that the cost of feed inputs alone accounts for almost P5 of each egg’s selling price.

“Although the price of eggs has increased, we’re not losing money. But we are not earning that much despite a reasonable farm-gate price,” San Diego said in a briefing.

Elias Jose Inciong, president of Ubra said that although they welcome the DA’s latest move to revitalize the price and volume watch, it would be helpful to get other agencies involved as well.

Inciong pointed out that tapping other government offices like the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Department of Finance (DoF) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) would make for “a complete consultative arrangement.”

The Marcos administration under the six-month period had been bombarded with food supply concerns.

Previously, before eggs, two other major commodities, sugar and onions have become staple issues that put into question Marcos campaign promise of agricultural self-sufficiency to test.

Last week, the DA authorized the importation of 21,060 metric tons (MT) of onions, 17,100 MT of those are red onions and 3,960 MT of yellow onions in a bid to pull down its prices that have ranged from P400 to P700 per kilo.

The import order drew opposition not only from some lawmakers but also to agribusiness groups who questioned the timing since the local onion harvest season would soon start next month. The groups are concerned that once the imported onions arrive, flooding the local market, it will affect the price of the local production. Importers were given until Jan. 27 to complete their shipments to the country.

Last December, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. also ordered the agriculture department to fast track the entry of 64,050 MT of imported refined sugar under the minimum access volume (MAV) mechanism ostensibly to arrest price surges.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Kristine Evangelista said that Ubra President Inciong’s proposal was a “welcome suggestion” that would help the government in finding ways to manage the supply and demand of food products.

In an interview, Evangelista said “I think it would be helpful so we can see all sides, different perspectives, and come up with a solution because every now and then, they are also part of the group that has to find ways to correct inflation. Having other agencies involved will probably be beneficial,”

“That is something that will be helpful so that we can assess the sufficiency of any commodity, but particularly of livestock,” she added.

The technical committee of the Price and Volume Watch Committee for Livestock and Poultry will also serve as the technical advisory body of the agriculture secretary, the  post currently held by Marcos in terms of the demand-and-supply situation of livestock commodities, meat and meat products prices, both local and international, and volume gaps.

The body will also call for regular and emergency meetings with the advisory groups “to discuss issues or concerns affecting the livestock and poultry industry, prices, importation, animal disease situations, minimum access volume levels, importation, cold storage inventories and [market] outlook.”

The DA in an order dated January 10, has revived the advisory groups for livestock and poultry, composed of the following: Swine Advisory Group, Broiler and Layer Advisory Group, Meat Importers and Processors Advisory Group, Ruminant Advisory Group, and Vendors Advisory Group.

These groups are called upon to assist in the monitoring of livestock, poultry, eggs, meat and meat product prices, and other allied industries such as feeds, including demand and supply trends.

They are expected to provide reliable industry information regarding price movements and help implement programs to arrive at more predictable production and consumption patterns.

The order also called for the setup of price and volume watch committees and advisory groups in the Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), Northern Mindanao, and Soccsksargen.