Philippines: Tariff cut extension to lower pork prices

RETAIL prices of pork are expected to drop next year following the extension of reduced tariffs that were supposed to expire this month, a senior Agriculture department official said on Tuesday.

Liempo (pork belly), for example, will likely sell at a lower P300 to P320 per kilo from the current P320 to P340, Agriculture Undersecretary Mercedita Sombilla said.

“This is just a very rough projection. From as high as P380 to P400 [per kilo], the price of pork liempo [has since] ranged from P320 to P340,” she added.

Prices will only return to P280 to P270 per kilo when “we get our local production really heightened,” Sombilla continued.

“Our target is really not to increase inflation.”

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. last week approved the extension of Executive Order (EO) 171, which lowered duties on pork, corn, rice and coal imports, to Dec. 31, 2023.

Then-President Rodrigo Duterte issued the EO in May 2022 in a bid to mitigate the impact of rising inflation. The order was supposed to expire at the end of this month.

“Our aim is to either bring down the prices [or] stabilize the supply. Our target is really to increase local production, supplement it only with importation,” Sombilla said.

The government, she added, also wants to maintain retail prices of rice at P35 to P37 per kilo.

“Our problem with rice is the high cost of local production. It is really high, that is why we are trying to implement various programs to address the high cost of production,” Sombilla said.

Marcos, she continued, was looking to improve the value chain so that farmers can earn more.

“We will be seeing a little bit more of infrastructure development, storages, ice plants for fisheries, and then rice milling complexes to improve the post-harvest part of rice production,” Sombilla said.

Former Agriculture secretary and Federation of Free Farmers Chairman Leonardo Montemayor had said that at least 10 to 15 percent of the country’s palay (unmilled rice) harvest, equivalent to at least 3 million to 3.4 million metric tons of rice, is wasted annually due to post-production losses.

Source: https://www.manilatimes.net/2022/12/21/business/top-business/tariff-cut-extension-to-lower-pork-prices/1871151