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Food Chamber urges DTI to revisit SRP

Local food manufacturers struggle to meet consumer demand with outdated prices.

Manila, Philippines– The country’s largest food industry association is urging the Department of Trade of Industry (DTI) to revisit the suggested retail prices (SRPs) of basic necessities amidst the ongoing economic recovery initiatives.

Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers Inc. (PCFMI) lamented that the prices set by the DTI for basic necessities under the SRP bulletin have been unchanged since August 2021.[1] Moreover, the last release of the SRP bulletin happened last September 2019. As a result, local food manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the increasing demand especially with the upcoming Christmas season.

With the current SRP, some of which are set below the purchase prices of retailers such as supermarkets, food manufacturers experienced damaging constraints in their operations. “There is a need to regularly update the SRPs of basic commodities to help food manufacturers recover from the losses due to the pandemic,” said PCFMI 1st Vice President and Chairperson for Legislative Committee Ms. Helen Grace Baisa.

Under Republic Act No. 7581, otherwise known as the Price Act, the national government is mandated to ensure the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities at reasonable prices especially during emergency situations.[2] Food manufacturers, however, bore the brunt of the outdated price ceilings at the expense of prices being artificially lower than the market rates.

The food chamber, whose membership consists of more than 100 members today, comprise of companies engaged in canned goods, ready-to-eat meals production, baked goods, dairy, coffee, and noodles among others.

“We believe that a whole-of-nation approach is necessary to provide the public with access to affordable food and that businesses are assured of government support in facing unprecedented disruptions in the food industry.” Food supply chains have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as nations try to sustain the spread of the virus, prompting pivotal shifts in demand and exposing logistical bottlenecks.[3]

“As more Filipinos are able to consume more this coming holiday season, we trust that DTI will give equal importance to the voice of the food industry to ensure business stability,” Ms. Baisa quipped.

[1] “Latest SRPs of Basic Necessities and Prime Commodities”, Department of Trade and Industry, https://www.dti.gov.ph/konsyumer/latest-srps-basic-necessities-prime-commodities/

[2] Republic Act No. 7581, An Act Providing Protection to Consumers by Stabilizing the Prices of Basic Necessities and Prime Commodities and by Prescribing Measures Against Undue Price Increases During Emergency Situations and Like Occasions, otherwise known as the Price Act, May 27, 1992

[3] “Food Supply Chains and COVID-19: Impacts and Policy Lessons”, OECD Policy Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19), https://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/policy-responses/food-supply-chains-and-covid-19-impacts-and-policy-lessons-71b57aea/

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