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SMC sets wholesale prices of pork, chicken at ‘least cost’

TO ensure stable and affordable supply of quality meats in the market, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) said it is setting the wholesale prices of its pork and chicken products for wet markets at “least cost” to allow distributors and resellers to still make reasonable profits while keeping to government’s 60-day price ceiling in Metro Manila.

The company will also maintain current wholesale price of pork to its Monterey franchisees to keep its meats affordable.

The move aims to protect consumers from manipulators jacking up prices of meats amid the ongoing pandemic and the African Swine Flu emergency.

Executive Order no. 124 has set the price cap for dressed chicken at P160, the “pigue” part of pork at P270 per kilo, and “liempo” at P300 per kilo. Before the price ceiling was set, reports indicated that a kilo of pork cost over P400.

“As a leading food manufacturer, we have a responsibility to the consumers. We want to make sure that the objective of the order is met, and that is to make pork and poultry products still within reach of many Filipinos. Our commitment to government, through the Department of Agriculture (DA), and our countrymen, is that we will deliver goods to our wet market distributors at the least cost. This way, they can pass these on to resellers at still favorable prices, and they can still profit while keeping to the price caps,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.

“We will closely monitor prices to make sure those in our chain will follow the price caps. This way, we can help ensure that prices in wet markets will go down to the level of government’s mandated prices, so that more consumers will benefit,” he added.

Ang said that he has also ordered the company’s Food unit, San Miguel foods, to expand distribution and widen its wet market presence, so it can help further keep prices down and supply stable for more Filipinos.

In particular, Ang said the company would make sure poultry is widely available and prices are stable, given that pork supply is squeezed in many areas due to restrictions caused by the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus.

Earlier this month, President Rodrigo Duterte announced a freeze on prices upon the recommendation of the Department of Agriculture, after reports that unscrupulous traders had caused unusual price increases.

Some vendors and raisers have declared a “pork holiday”, saying that the price ceiling was too low and they would be forced to sell at a loss. Reportedly, this is seen to lead to a shortage of supply.

“We are all experiencing difficulties at this time of pendemic. Big businesses like us are affected. Small enterprises and entrepreneurs are also affected. Micro-retailers and of course, consumers are all affected. But food is a basic need of people. In this time of crisis, we all need to still turn a profit. But we shouldn’t profit unreasonably and at the expense of consumers. We will continue to work with government, our partners, and stakeholders to find ways to support the industry and at the same time benefit consumers,” Ang said.