Wednesday, 18 July 2012 12:54
Officials of the Southern Philippines Deep Sea Fishing Association Inc. (SOPHIL) yesterday morning appealed to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to reconsider its earlier decision to lower the Suggested Retail Price (SRP) of canned sardines being sold in the market from P13.75 or P13.50 (depending on the brand) to P12.80 per can.
In a press conference, Roberto Baylosis SOPHIL Executive Vice President disclosed that last July 10, 2012 the DTI and the National Price Coordinating Council and other stakeholders had a meeting chaired by Sec. Greg Domingo and USEC Zeny Maglaya where the DTI secretary announced his decision to lower the price of sardines effective August 01, 2012 based from the pronouncements made by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) that the wet market price of "tamban" fish ranges from P20 to P32 per kilo for the months of April and May.
Baylosis pointed out that lowering the price of the sardines will have a domino effect on SOPHIL being the commercial harvester/fisher of sardines as well supplier of "tamban" fish to the different canning factories in Zamboanga City and other regions.
“If DTI is saying that the 'tamban' is sold for P20 per kilo, we will not anymore fish in the ocean, we will just buy from the market because it is cheaper. But where is that tamban being sold at very cheap price?” Baylosis asked.
He stressed the "tamban" being sold at cheaper price in the market are the non canning grade material such as undersized and bad quality and not suitable for canning.
He said SOPHIL supplies and contributes 70 percent of the bulk of sardine fish in the country.
Former SOPHIL president Eugene Yap said the pressure of DTI to lower the price of sardines is detrimental to the fishing industry.
The DTI should consider the burden and other problems of the fishing sector, such as rough weather possibly due to climate change that has limited the number of their fishing days, the frequent price increase of petroleum products and the recent announcement of the minimum wage order.
“There are times we have to spent much on diesel because our fishing boats will have to go after the fish in many areas. Sometimes we spent 2,000 liters of diesel in one day because we have to go from one place to the other since the fish do not stay in one place,” Yap said.
He said the price of "tamban" cannot be dictated because it follows the law of supply and demand. “The SRP should be between P27 or higher,” he said.
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