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Lowering of Canned Sardine Price Opposed

19 July 2012, at 1:00am

PHILIPPINES - THE Southern Philippines Deep Sea Fishing Association Inc. (Sophil) has opposed the decision of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to lower the suggested retail price (SRP) of canned sardines by as much as .95 centavos per can.

Sophil executive vice president Roberto Baylosis said the reduction of canned sardines SRP will have a domino effect on them, reports SunStar.

It will backtrack on us. The canning industries will ask us to lower our price and that will be a domino effect, Mr Baylosis, emphasised in a press conference on Tuesday speaking on behalf of Sophil.

DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo announced the decision to lower the SRP of canned sardines during the July 10 meeting of the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC).

The new SRP, based on the pronouncement of Domingo, is lowered to P12.80 per can which will be lesser by as much as .95 centavos from the previous SRP of P13.50 to P13.75 each can of sardines, Mr Baylosis said.

Accordingly, Mr Baylosis said DTIs decision to slash the SRP was based on the report of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), which reported that the wet market price of sardine fish or tamban ranges from P20 to P32 per kilo for the months of April and May.

The canneries pay Sophil an amount ranging from P24 to P28 per kilo depending on the sizes of tamban.

Mr Baylosis said the wet market selling price should not be made as the basis in fixing the canned sardines SRP since tamban sold in wet markets are the non-canning grade materials.

Mr Baylosis said they cannot lower their selling price of tamban since it will no longer be viable for operations citing there are operational factors to consider in the fishing industry.

These include the unpredictable weather condition brought about by climate change as well as the frequent price increase on petroleum products, Mr Baylosis said.

Sophil Board of Director Eugene Yap said the selling prices of tamban for canning should be P27 a kilo or higher in order to sustain a viable operation.

Mr Yap said bulk of their operational expenses is the cost on fuel since fishing involves searching and catching the fish.

Fishing doesnt mean you just drop the fish nets and you will immediately have a catch. You have to search first since fish transfers from one place to the other, Mr Yap said citing sometimes they spent 2,000 liters of fuel searching and catch nothing.

Aside from fuel, they also pay salary to the associations 3,500 labor force based on the minimum wage law plus incentive catch payment, Mr Baylosis said.

Sophil, which has 11 fishing company-members, supplies 70 per cent of the tamban fish needed in the canneries based in Zamboanga City.

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