The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is now looking into surging pork prices, with some exceeding P400 per kg.

“Ito iyong tinututukan natin dahil iyong presyo ng ating farmgate hindi naman ganun kataas, nasa (That’s what we are focusing into now because our farmgate price is not that high, it’s just) a little over P200/kg.,” Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said in a Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon briefing.

Although the farmgate price slightly increased from P198 last week, de Mesa said the retail prices should only hit the benchmark.

“So, kung dadagdagan natin ito ng P100, ito kasi iyong ating benchmark. So, dapat nasa mga (if we’ll add P100 because that’s our benchmark. So, it should be at) P320, P330 which is the correct price ng ating kasim (our pork ham),” he said.

As of Thursday, the prevailing price range of pork kasim is pegged at P295 to P370/kg., while pork liempo is set at P340 to P420/kg., according to DA-Bantay Presyo (price watch).

The DA earlier said the African swine fever (ASF) remains a challenge in the country’s livestock sector.

Smaller, cheaper eggs

De Mesa, meanwhile, confirmed more supply of smaller eggs coming into the market.

He, however, said this is just a normal cycle, except for those who adopted artificial or tunnel ventilation, instead of open spaces which cause a direct correlation between the hot environment and the chicken.

“It’s a natural cycle. Kapag summer may ganitong epekto. Pagdating ng tag-ulan at malamig, maganda rin iyong (When it’s summer, it has this effect. During the rainy season and it’s cold, our layers have good) production or productivity ng ating layers,” de Mesa said.

“Iyong presyo ngayon, mas mababa kumpara noong nakaraang linggo (The prices of eggs now are lower compared to last week), simply because iyong mga itlog mas maliit (the eggs are smaller),” he added.

Earlier, Philippine Egg Board Association president Francis Uyehura said the El Niño phenomenon has been affecting the production size of eggs, as well as increasing mortality in layers.

“If before, farmers are getting large or XL (extra large) eggs now, there are more small or even extra small eggs,” he said in a radio interview.

To date, medium-sized eggs are benchmarked at P4.50 to P5.40 per piece, depending on the area, according to Uyehura.PNA