October 2, 2008


Philippine hog farmers losing out on price disparities

Many consumers in the Philippines are shifting to cheaper meats such as chicken and fish due to the unprecedented disparity between farm gate and retail prices of pork, said hog farmers.


Pork retail prices do not reflect farm gate prices, which have decreased significantly, according to Albert Lim Jr., president of the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc (NFHFI).


Lim said retailers are expected to further increase prices as the Christmas season approaches.


Actual farm gate prices currently range from PHP 78-83 per kg, while average farm gate prices before the Holy Week was between PHP 115-117 per kg. However, wet markets sell pork at PHP 150-175 per kg, Lim said.


"For a time, we thought that the situation affects only Luzon, but it has already started to affect hog producers from Visayas and Mindanao," Lim said.


This situation further hurts hog producers who were still recovering from the effects of swine diseases last year and many producers are considering to leave the business due to the combination of high input costs and low farm gate prices, according to Lim.


Production cost is around PHP 85-91 per kg, which barely breaks even with current farm gate prices, said Lim, adding that small backyard growers who account for 77 percent of local production, would be hurt most by the price disparities.


Continued pork imports have also worsened the problem and the Department of Agriculture (DA) has reported a sharp decline of hog production in the first half of 2008, Lim said.


Reduced local production during the holiday season would lead to pork shortage at a time when consumers spend more on food, particularly meat products, said Lim.


The NFHFI has urged the DA to launch an information campaign, which would involve posting pork prices outside wet markets to guide consumers and prevent retailers from overpricing.

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