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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

DA reactivates price, volume watch body

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THE agriculture department has reactivated its price and volume watch body to ensure proper coordination with the livestock and poultry stakeholders in securing the country’s meat supplies.

Senior Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban issued Special Order (SO) 19 that ordered the recomposition of the price and volume watch committee and advisory groups for livestock and poultry.

Agriculture Assistant Secretary Kristine Y. Evangelista said the revival of the price and volume watch group has long been proposed since it serves as a platform for production guidance among industry stakeholders.

“It guides them whether there is enough supply or shortfall and therefore helps them in deciding whether to increase their production or not. It is also helpful to the department since we would have better projections regarding the sufficiency of our meat commodities,” Evangelista told reporters on Wednesday.

The technical committee of the price and volume watch group will now be chaired by the Assistant Secretary for Consumer Affairs and co-chaired by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) director.

Members of the technical committee are the heads of all the livestock- and poultry-related agencies of the Department of Agriculture (DA) as well as representatives from the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service, Minimum Access Volume, National Corn Program and Philippine Coconut Authority.

Meanwhile, there will be five livestock and poultry-related advisory groups: swine, broiler and layer, meat importers and processors, ruminants, and vendors.

The members of each advisory group would come from prominent livestock and poultry industry groups, most of whom are long-time industry leaders.

The primary role of the technical committee is to serve as the primary advisory body of the agriculture secretary in terms of supply and demand situation of livestock commodities, based on the SO.

Under the SO, the technical committee should conduct regular and emergency meetings with the advisory groups to discuss issues and concerns affecting the country’s livestock and poultry industries.

These issues and concerns include supply situation, farm-gate and retail prices, importation programs, animal disease situations, minimum access volume, cold storage inventors and industry outlooks.

The technical committee is responsible for integrating and analyzing pertinent information gathered during its meetings and formulate a situational analysis and adoption measures that address any existing supply gaps and sudden price surges.

The committee shall also evaluate policy options to address pressing supply issues and likewise transmit policy recommendations that allow the government to effectively manage the country’s meat supply.

Meanwhile, the advisory groups are tasked to assist the technical committee in monitoring the prices of various livestock and poultry products as well as feeds including demand and supply trends.

The advisory groups are also required to provide “reliable” industry information with regard to the prices of livestock, poultry, eggs, meat and meat products during the meetings.

The SO said the advisory groups should assist the government in the “development and implementation of programs that enhance the predictability of production and consumption, supply and demand of livestock, poultry, meat and meat products.”

The SO also ordered the creation of regional price and volume watch committees and advisory groups, especially in key livestock and poultry-producing regions such as Ilocos, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Northern Mindanao and Soccsksargen.

Livestock and poultry industry stakeholders have been lobbying for the resurrection of the price and volume watch since the body has been critical in ensuring the country’s meat supply in the past.

Industry stakeholders emphasized that the body has been the go-to platform for both local producers and meat importers to discuss the country’s overall meat situation, such as output projections, and demand estimates. They lamented that the advisory body ceased to operate and exist during the previous leadership of the agriculture department.

Elias Jose Inciong, United Broiler Raisers Association President, said the issuance of SO 19 is a “good first step” toward better coordination between the government and stakeholders in terms of ensuring the country’s meat supplies.

However, Inciong, who has been part of the previous iterations of the price and volume watch, proposed that other government agencies such as the Customs bureau and the Philippine Statistics Authority should be part of the group.

Other government agencies that should be part of the price and volume watch are the National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Finance, the Department of Budget and Management, and the Department of Science and Technology in order for it to have more holistic discussions, Inciong said.

“If the SO will not be amended to include the other agencies then our efforts will not culminate [in an ideal] information network in accordance with Sections 38 and 45 of the [Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act]. We will go nowhere, we will just run in circles,” he said in a forum organized by the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. on Wednesday.

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