Lopez warns profiteering meat retailers face closure

By Kris Crismundo

August 23, 2018, 6:30 pm

MANILA -- Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has warned profiteering wet market vendors to bring down retail prices of meat and poultry products as farmgate prices have already gone down, or face consequences ranging from getting a Notice of Violation (NOV) to having their stores closed.

Lopez told reporters Thursday that representatives of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) have already met with wet market vendors and informed them that government will be closely monitoring prices of agriculture products.

He said the government first asked their cooperation in lowering the retail prices of agriculture products particularly meat and poultry.

“If they will not bring the prices down, we start issuing the Notice of Violation. First, [we will issue] letter of inquiry. If prices are still not moving, then we issue Notice of Violation. Or we can even close their stores, and that’s the last resort,” the official said in Filipino.

Lopez noted that farmgate prices of chicken now range from PHP80 to PHP90, while its retail price should be at around PHP130. In the past two days, prices of chicken have gone up to PHP150 per kilo.

He added that retailers should also pressure their middleman to bring down their prices.

“Our very last resort is we will open our own stores in wet markets with lower prices,” Lopez said, noting that the government will get the products directly from farmers and growers. (PNA)