Sardine producers want price raises too as Ukraine-Russia war drive up fuel costs

Philippine sardine makers are the latest sector urging a price hike to mitigate an inevitable rise in production costs — as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to wreak worldwide economic havoc and induce a spike in fuel prices.

The Canned Sardines Association of the Philippines (CSAP) has urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to raise the suggested retail prices for sardine products, avoiding what they called a repeat incident of huge losses amid the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when prices for canned sardine products were not adjusted.

The CSAP is set to raise the matter today in a meeting with the trade bureau.

“We understand that the DTI needs to do a balancing act for both the manufacturers and the consumers. However, we are concerned that another round of fuel price hikes would drive up production costs by 3.5 percent,” CSAP Executive Director Francisco Buencamino said in a statement.

Canned sardines in the Philippines is one of the most affordable canned products on the market, and a common fixture in disaster relief goods.

The CSAP stressed that the DTI’s approval of suggested retail price (SRPs) “appears to be an act of price control” when there are no qualifying conditions to impose a prevailing price.

“There is no provision in the Price Act requiring retailers to wait for the agency’s prior approval before implementing any price increase,” Buencamino said.

Fuel prices are soaring again this week, making this the tenth consecutive week of oil price hikes. The total net increase per liter since the start of the year stands at PHP 13.25 (US$0.25) for gasoline, PHP17.50 (US$0.33) for diesel, and PHP11.40 (US$0.22) for kerosene, according to figures from the Department of Energy.

Sardines is one of the most common sources of protein for Filipinos and accounts for 15 percent of marine fishery, producing an average of 380,000 tons yearly.

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