Poultry pro-competitive pricing pushed

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The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) on Friday called for pro-competitive pricing of poultry products amid reports of drastic drop in farmgate prices of the commodity.

The agency was reacting to an earlier proposal of the agriculture department to hike the prices of poultry at P10 weekly, to address the P38 per kilo in farmgate prices of the product in some areas in the country.

“While the PCC recognizes the DA’s timely efforts to proactively assist poultry raisers, an agreement among competitors to collectively raise prices is considered anti-competitive and illegal under Section 14(a) of the Philippine Competition Act,” PCC Chairman Arsenio Balisacan said.

“Section 14(a) refers to the agreements, between or among competitors, as prohibited per se. This includes ‘restricting competition as to price, or components thereof or other terms of trade,’” he explained.

Likewise, fixing price at an auction or in any form of bidding including cover bidding, bid suppression, bid rotation and market allocation and other analogous practices of bid manipulation, is also covered by the said act.

The prohibition covers a group of competitors operating in a market whose goal is to increase their collective profits by means of price fixing, bid rigging, output restriction or market allocation.

“To address the concerns of poultry raisers and avoid harm to consumers, it is more efficient to allow producers to independently adjust their own prices or output,” Balisacan added.

“Concerned agencies may also consider pro-competitive forms of assistance such as access to agricultural credit or the provision of research and extension services to boost the productivity of poultry raisers,” he added.

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