CEBU CITY, Philippines - Homemaker Cecelia Cabido used to buy two kilos of pork during her twice-a-week shopping at the Carbon public market.
Lately, she decided to cut it to one kilo after the price of meat went up by P15 per kilo in recent months, coupled with the higher cost of rice.
A kilo of pork now costs P140 to P150 per kilo.
?Lisud na gyud ang budget sa pamilya. Pig-it na gyud mi ilabi na dunay gipa-eskuela sa college (The budget of the family is very tight especially that we are sending children to college),? said Cabido, of Barangay (village) Alaska Mambaling, Cebu City.
Cabido is just one of many consumers who have noticed that prices of pork at the wet markets and supermarkets have shot up.
A representative of a hog raisers group urged government to conduct price inspections because market vendors were making unreasonable markups (?patong?) on every kilo of pork meat.
?The government should check prices in food in the market. Some are selling pork at P180 per kilo. That's too much for consumers. This is the part where government should consider price control,? said Plutarco Ong, president of the Cebu Association of Meat and Poultry Products Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Campp).
The cooperative has more than 20 farmer members whose farms or piggeries are mostly located in Toledo City and towns of Balamban and Santander.
But Servilla Pacaldo, a meat vendor at the Carbon Public Market, said they have no choice but to adjust their prices after suppliers increased their prices in January. She said they used to buy pork at P108 to P110 per kilo from their suppliers in December 2007. Now, it costs P125 per kilo, forcing vendors to adjust their prices between P140 and P150 per kilo.
She warned that their prices would go up to P165 per kilo after suppliers announced they would increase their prices to P130 per kilo.
But according to Ong, the farm gate price of live swine is only P93 per kilo. Dressed pork is sold between P123 and P125 per kilo. Buyers or middle man would sell the pork meat at P160 per kilo to the market vendors, he added.
Ong said a mark up of P33 to P35 was too much considering that farmers did not increase their farm gate prices of swine despite increases in the price of yellow corn and soya, main ingredients for hog feed.
A kilo of soya beans rose to P27 as of first week of April from P17 per kilo last year. A kilo of yellow corn now costs P14 per kilo from P8 per kilo last year.
?We also can?t avoid feeding them livestock feed or else we will not achieve the desired growth. Hogs will not get the right protein requirement. If we choose to give them lamaw (leftovers), our business will also be affected,? he said.
?Malugi din ang business nila,? he added.
Pacaldo said meat vendors were forced to jack up their prices because of additional expenses for every hog bought from the supplier.
These include fees for the slaughter, which range from P70 to P80 per hog and P140 for meat inspection charges from the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries.
Pacaldo said meat vendors at the Carbon Public Market had difficulty getting their supply of pork from Cebu because suppliers here would usually sell their stocks to Manila where prices were higher and the demand bigger.
She said Manila vendors had to get their pork from sources in the Visayas and Mindanao after cholera infestation hit the swine population in Bulacan province, their number one supplier of pork meat.
?Davao suppliers sell directly to Manila and not Cebu because prices of pork meat are higher in Manila,? Pacaldo noted.
They were forced to get their supply from backyard pig raisers. Although the prices were the same, the quality of the pork meat, however, was not as plentiful.