UPDATED– The Department of Agriculture (DA) announced the agreed suggested retail prices (SRP) of fresh agriculture and fisheries commodities in Metro Manila market on June 22 in Quezon City.

Led by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol together with the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries’ Advisory Special Bodies, other industry stakeholders, and concerned government offices, the SRPs for rice, onion, garlic, and fish (tilapia, round scad or galunggong, and milkfish) were validated and set.

However, the DA was informed by the aquaculture industry on June 25 that some supermarkets allegedly pulled out the processed milkfish from their shelves which caused confusion among fishpond operators and milkfish producers.

In a statement, the DA clarified that “pursuant to provisions of Republic Act 7581, also known as Price Act, the DA Secretary ‘may issue SRPs for any basic necessities and prime commodities under jurisdiction.’ However, we would like to emphasize that the DA sets SRPs on selected farm and fishery commodities such as rice, corn and fish in public wet markets. Further, the set SRPs for the eight agricultural and fishery commodities will be be applicable in Metro Manila wet and public markets. On the other hand, SRPs for processed agri-fishery products are set by the Department of Trade and Industry.”

Sec. Piñol recently announced that DA will release SRP scheme to stabilize agricultural food products in the market to set as a guideline for the consumers and protection for the industry stakeholders.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, some commodities are affected by movement of materials, economic factors, and indirect costs. It was also raised that some products have minimal effect on prices due to Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

“The increase in the price of commodities in the market resulted from the speculations of the traders and vendors, not the farmers and producers,” said Sec. Piñol in a dialogue with the private sector.– JC