Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on Monday hit the meat processors’ claim that increasing the reference prices of hogs and chicken imports would mean higher prices of these products.
Alcala said the accusation “only shows that meat importers had been undervaluing their imports.”
The Alliance of Food Processors, Providers and Stakeholders (AFPPS) earlier accused the government of failure to consult them, the United States and other countries as trading partners to agree to the increases first.
They demanded the suspension of the increase in reference prices in pork to US$ 2.97 a kilo from 80 cents and US$ 1.23 a kilo for chicken from 54 cents, which they viewed as a concession to the local hog and chicken industries that threatened to go on a five-day pork and chicken holiday should the government fail to address their concerns on smuggling and over-importation.
Alcala, however, said that the AFPPS “should also consider the interest of domestic hog producers, and they should not penalize the livestock industry.”
“Hindi naman puwede na ang interest lamang nila (AFPPS) ang poprotektahan (It is not only their interest that should be protected),” said Alcala at the sidelines of the People’s Organizations Forum hosted by the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) held at the Grand Regal Hotel here.
Last April 27, the DA chief recommended to Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima that the reference prices on imported pork and chicken parts be raised.
For pork carcasses and half carcasses, the reference price Alcala has recommended should be US$ 2.102 per kilo.
For hams, shoulders and “cuts thereof with bone-in,” the price set was US$ 2.128 per kilo and for others, US$ 2.976 per kilo.
The prices of poultry, chicken leg quarters were pegged at US$ 1.238 per kilo, mechanically deboned meat (MDM) of chicken at US$ 0.953 per kilo, and MDM of turkey at US$ 0.699 per kilo.