DA confirms eggs overpriced

A worker at Marikina Public market sort trays off egg by size last January 24 2023. Photos by John Orven Verdote

AN official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Thursday said the eggs sold in Metro Manila markets are overpriced by at least P1.50 per piece.

In an interview with The Manila Times, Agriculture deputy spokesman Rex Estoperez said that based on his inspection in Mindoro Occidental, the retail price of eggs only rose by 50 centavos per piece. The province gets its eggs from Batangas, which also supplies Metro Manila.

“The egg producers have been saying the farmgate price is stable. Metro Manila and Occidental Mindoro both source1 their egg supply from Batangas. It seems that the problem is in between as when eggs are transported to Mindoro, they only cause an additional 50 centavos. In Metro Manila, from Batangas, the added cost is P1.50, P2 to P2.50 [per piece],” he said.

Estoperez noted the big disparity in the farm gate price and retail price in the National Capital Region.

“No less than the President said that the traders should only increase the farm gate price of eggs between three and five percent,” Estoperez said, referring to the directive of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to the DA to find out what was causing the spike in the retail prices of eggs.

Estoperez said that during his meeting with Agriculture Assistant Secretary for Inspectorate and Enforcement James Layug and Assistant Secretary and spokesman Kristine Evangelista, they agreed to discuss with the different market masters tapping the local government units (LGUs) for monitoring egg prices.

“We will look into the cost structure as the retail price of eggs is unreasonable,” he said.

Estoperez said that personally, he is against imposing a suggested retail price on eggs, “but if traders fail to comply, there should be a penalty.”

Estoperez said that because of a shortage of eggs in Mindoro, when the province orders 200 trays, only 100 trays will arrive.

“The LGU said it is okay for them if there is no oversupply of eggs in the province. What is important is that the stocks arrive regularly,” he said.

On Wednesday, DA officials led by Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban met with the egg producers to comply with the President's directive to address the rising prices of eggs.

In a radio interview, Batangas Egg Producers Cooperative managing director Cecille Virtucio said the DA vowed to address the biosecurity problem, particularly in Central Luzon, where nine million chickens were culled following an outbreak of avian influenza.

“During the meeting, it was clear that the cause of the increase in the prices of eggs was due to the bird flu that hit Central Luzon. The Philippines was affected by avian influenza, particularly Central Luzon, where at least eight to nine million chickens were culled. This was confirmed by a cooperative in Minalin, Pampanga. Central Luzon is the next egg basket and as of now there is no production after egg producers were affected by bird flu in June to July 2022,” Virtucio said.

Batangas is the country's biggest egg producer.

Virtucio said egg producers in Central Luzon cannot afford to implement biosecurity measures, the DA officials vowed to talk to financial institutions like Land Bank and the Development Bank of the Philippines to help implement a program to repopulate the poultry industry and improve biosecurity.

He said the producers plan to bring their eggs directly to the DA's Kadiwa centers to do away with middlemen.

“Many of our farmers supply directly to their clients in Manila but many egg producers still have no means to transport their produce so they still rely on the traders to deliver to the markets in Metro Manila,” Virtucio said.

The producers are also burdened by the high cost of feeds.

“We all know that big components of feeds are imported like soya. Even the cost of corn is increasing,” Virtucio said.

She said the DA and egg producers will also meet with retailers to find ways to bring down egg prices.

Virtucio said the producers are also asking the DA for financial help.

“It is very difficult for egg producers to bounce back if they do not have capital. That's one of our requests to the government to normalize egg production,” she said.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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