ZAMBOANGA CITY– THE dispute over the new price hike on fresh sardines between canneries and fishing operators was finally resolved over in early August. However, consumers of sardines, who are mostly low-income Filipinos, will have to brace for a price increase of the 155-gram canned sardines in September.
Price of canned sardines are expected to increase by P0.90-P1 next month, after seven out of nine sardines manufacturers here agreed to buy from fishing operators at a price of P24 to P25 per kilo of sardines.
Canned sardines, considered the “poor man’s staple” since they provide inexpensive protein for the nation’s low-income families, are expected to retail soon at least P12 from the prevailing P11, local manufacturers here said.
Earlier, the Southern Philippines Deep Sea Fishing Association (Sophil), which supplies more than 80% of fish catch to canneries here, increased their price for sardines to P25 per kilogram from less than P22/kg., citing the steady increases of diesel fuel, which eats up to 70% of commercial fishing’s operating cost.
But local canneries had said they could afford a higher price of only P23/kg.
The price disagreement lasted for more than two weeks, which resulted to the temporary layoff of thousands of fishing and canned sardine laborers here, and threatened the supply of sardine products in the market, after most of canneries and fishing operators suspend their operation because of the unresolved issue.