Meat inflation hit 16.8% in 2021 – DoF

By Eireene Jairee Gomez | The Manila Times
January 14, 2022


THE country’s meat price inflation reached 16.8 percent in 2021, the highest annual price increase of any major food item since 2012, also surpassing the highest price inflation of rice at 11 percent back in 2011, according to the Department of Finance (DoF).

“The 16.8-percent meat price inflation last year accounted for 1.1 percentage points to the 4.4-percent overall inflation. Had meat price inflation been half as high, the upper level of the 2- to 4-percent inflation target range would not have been breached,” the DoF said.

The African swine fever (ASF) resulted in the drastic drop in domestic hog supply, which immediately translated into higher prices of swine and, subsequently, pork.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that for the first 10 months of 2021, backyard hog farmgate prices averaged P155.6 per kilo, a 38.9-percent increase from the average of P112 per kilo recorded in 2020.

The Department of Agriculture confirmed that the first ASF outbreak started in July 2019. ASF outbreaks have been reported in Luzon, Mindanao and Leyte Islands, resulting in a drastic decline in the national swine production.

During the first nine months of 2021, hog production slumped by 23.4 percent as compared to the 4.2-percent decline in the same period in the previous year.

To address the shortfall, the government allowed the importation of pork. The minimum access volume for pork imports for 2021 was then raised from 54,210 metric tons (MT) to 254,210 MT via Executive Order (EO) 133.

However, the Finance department noted that the global meat prices similarly increased. In 2021, the global meat price index rose by 12.7 percent reversing its 4.5-percent decline in 2020.

In fact, the latest report issued by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on domestic pork prices confirms that pork prices continue to rise.

The report stated that the average retail price of fresh pork pigue/kasim increased by 1.9 percent to P328 per kilo in the fourth week of December from P322 per kilo a week earlier. On the other hand, frozen pork belly went up to P280 per kilo after being constant at P270 per kilo since the fourth week of November 2021.

To combat the continuing pork price spiral, the department recommended the extension of the validity of EO 133 until December 2022 as proposed by NEDA.

“The country would definitely need to continue importing pork products to meet demand and immediately compensate for the shortfall in domestic supply as it will take some time to recover decimated hog populations,” the DoF said.