Agriculture stakeholders ask government to go after hoarders
Amid the rising cost of some food commodities, leaders of farmers and fishermen recently asked the government to run after market speculators and hoarders of basic food items as they made an assurance that there is enough supply of pork, chicken and rice.
“The problem is not in the farm level but in the market where the speculators manipulate the prices and in the cold storages and warehouses where thousands of metric tons of meat and chicken are being kept in preparation for the Holidays where prices are expected to go up,” the stakeholders said in a joint statement, which was cited by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.
Piñol said that during the consultative meeting convened by the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF), the advisory body of the Department of Agriculture (DA), leaders of farmers and fishermen’s groups pointed out that except for rice whose farm gate buying price improved recently, the farm gate prices of other commodities hardly moved.
Citing data provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the PCAF members said that farm gate prices of chicken and hogs increased by only 1 percent but in the market, the price of these items increased by over 5 percent.
“Don’t look at us. Check the market outlets. They are the ones making money,” Raul Montemayor, representative of the agriculture sector to the DA special bodies said during the meeting.
Because of this, Piñol issued an announcement that all Minimum Access Volume (MAV) allocations, which were not brought in, will be cancelled and the importing companies which failed to bring in their pork and chicken imports will be banned.
Meanwhile, Piñol said stakeholders of agriculture and fisheries also supported the proposal to allow the importation of specific food species, especially during the Closed Season for Fishing from November to March, to stabilize the price of fish in the market.