DTI asks wet market vendors to explain poultry prices

By Kris Crismundo

August 31, 2018, 4:58 pm

MANILA -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued on Friday letters of inquiry to 15 wet market vendors in Paco Market (Manila) and Nepa Q-Mart (Quezon City), asking them to explain why the prices of chicken are so high.

This, is after the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) learned that the mark up on poultry products in these 15 wet market stalls is higher than the “acceptable” PHP50-margin from the current farm gate price.

Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said retail prices of chicken range from PHP150 to PHP160 per kilo while farmgate price is averaging PHP86 to PHP87 per kilo.

Castelo added that with the farm gate price at PHP86 or PHP87 per kilogram plus the PHP50 “acceptable” markup, retail prices of chicken should only be around PHP136 to PHP137 per kilogram.

Based on FTEB’s interview with vendors, it was found out that they are really getting the dressed chicken from traders or “middleman” at PHP108 per kilo plus an additional PHP4 per kilo as dressing fee, and sells them at PHP150 to PHP160. This means the margin from the farm gate price to retail price is still around PHP68.50 per kilogram.

“We’ve also seen that last week, farm gate price is around PHP70 and the retail price is around PHP150 to PHP160. Now, it’s PHP86 to PHP87 (farmgate price), but the retail price remains at PHP150 to PHP160,” Castelo said in Filipino.

“So, we have proven the findings of DTI that the prices among wet market vendors and traders are not moving with the farm gate prices,” she noted.

“It’s a clear case of profiteering,” the DTI official said.

Under the Price Act and the Consumer Act, those were found engaging in profiteering will be fined PHP5,000 to PHP2 million and face criminal charges.

Meanwhile, the government said it will continue its dialogue with all stakeholders to assure that these profiteering practices are not tolerated. (PNA)