CALOOCAN CITY, Jan. 27 (PIA) -- Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar on Tuesday said their agency is going after traders and sellers who allegedly floated the idea of food shortage in order to jack up prices in the market, especially in Metro Manila.
During a media briefing, Dar said investigations and appropriate charges for traders and sellers colluding to float the idea of food supply shortage to jack up the prices are now underway.
"All evidence points against them, as (the) production cost of hogs ranges only from P105 to P150 per kilo, and the resulting farmgate price of up to P200 per kilo, while market retail prices go as high P400 per kilo. That's a huge P200 profit margin," he said.
He especially noted that hog raisers in Batangas, where farmgate prices range from P180 to P200 per kg., impose a P70 to P80 margin between farmgate and market prices, which is acceptable.
In partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry and other affiliated agencies, the DA has created a sub-task group on economic intelligence operating through the Inter-Agency Task Force on Food Security.
The Philippine Competition Commission, on the other hand, also said penalties could reach as high as P100 million for traders and sellers found guilty of price manipulation.
Dar earlier said he has recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte the implementation of a price freeze on food items.
In particular, he sought a price ceiling for kasim (pork shoulder) and pigue (pork leg) at P270/kg.; liempo (pork belly) at P300/kg.; and chicken at P160/kg. (PIA NCR)