No surprise: Christmas ham costlier in 2019


By Elijah Felice Rosales, Business Mirror (Philippines)

November 5, 2019


IT’S a costly Christmas for Filipinos this year. The traditional ham that families put on their table for Noche Buena is P25 pricier now, as meat processors struggle to find new sources of pork in the face of the African swine fever (ASF) crisis.


Prices of all 31 ham products monitored by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) went up by as much as P76 based on the suggested retail price (SRP) list for Noche Buena items as of October 31.


The BusinessMirror computed an average price hike of P25.49 in the ham shelf.


Trade Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo said the DTI approved the price increases on the request of meat processors and manufacturers, who cited the dreaded ASF hounding many countries, including the Philippines, as one of the reasons for petitioning the hike.


“Some gave ASF as a reason because, due to the ASF in China, other countries had to source from new suppliers. [This resulted in] fewer supply in the international market,” Castelo said in a text message to the BusinessMirror.


Aside from the ASF crisis, meat processors had to raise the prices of ham to make up for cost increases, particularly in packaging, Castelo added.


Prices of ham products weighing 500 grams ballooned nearly P13 on average; the highest were the P20 hikes in Virginia Brick Ham and Virginia Pear-Shaped Ham. The DTI added Swift Noche Buena Ham 500 grams, priced P135, in its SRP monitoring.


Further, the price of King Sue Pear Shaped Cooked Ham Loaf 700 grams went up P4 to P194, from P190 last year.


On the other hand, prices of ham weighing 800 grams rose an average P20, the sharpest were the increases of P20 in Virginia Pear Shaped Ham, P26 in CDO Pear Shaped Ham and P25 in Purefoods Pear Shaped Ham. The DTI also included Swift Pear Shaped Ham 800 grams, sold P196, under its price watch.


The price of the lone 850-gram ham product on the SRP list, CDO Jamon de Bola increased P26 to P295, from last year’s P269.


The steepest price hikes were recorded in ham weighing 1 kilogram and above, as increases here averaged over P32. The SRP of CDO Chinese Ham 1 kilo rose P76 to P1,025, from P949, while those of Purefoods Chicken Ham and King Sue Chinese Ham (Bone-in) Boiled went up by P51 to P450 and P872, respectively.


The price of the heaviest ham item monitored by the DTI, Purefoods Fiesta Ham 1.5 kilos, also shot up P24 to P832.50, from P808.50 last year.


The DTI monitored fewer ham products this year compared to last year on the removal of six brands, notably five made by Frabelle, from the SRP list. With the addition of two Swift brands, the agency covered a total of 33 hams in this year’s price watch for Noche Buena goods.


Since the ASF crisis broke out...