CENTRAL Visayas consumers may soon find their favorite sardines inside plastic pouches as the supply of cans sourced from China has been cut off due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) president Steven Yu said the supply of tin cans used in the canning process for sardines is now greatly affected.
“The source of tin cans for sardines is indeed affected for now, and we hope that this is just temporary and production from China will catch up soon,” he said.
However, the Philippine sardine manufacturers were able to find alternative sources outside of China although the supply capacity is limited, he said.
These sources include Indonesia and other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
“Worse case scenario is to use plastic pouches which some did before,” he said.
Yu said as of now, prices have remained stable and the supply is still good for a few months.
“There is no need to be on panic buying mode because we can overcome this, and there are alternatives available,” he said.
According to Yu, there is only one sardine plant in Cebu, Asahi Sardines located in Mandaue City that holds a market share of less than one percent in the country.
Yu said said his feedback came from the largest sardine plants in the Philippines.
“It’s a nationwide thing, which affects Central Visayas because more than 99 percent of our canned sardines supply comes from them (sardine plants),” he said.
The country’s sardine capital is Zamboanga which has 11 sardine canning plants.
Meanwhile, Yu observed that if the disruptions caused by the affected supply of materials from China continues until March, there is a possibility that inflation would slightly go up.
“But the fuel prices are also going down plus other factors so there’s an offsetting mechanism. Overall, my guess is it will stay within two to four percent in the second quarter,” he said.
Inflation is a sustained increase in the general price level of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.
Yu said the third quarter inflation is still uncertain and will depend on how companies will perform in the second quarter.
“China will hit three to five percent (inflation) in the second quarter or higher a bit. The gross domestic product growth will be affected because the economic activities are suppressed. People are not as productive. There’s curtailed spending and consumption, and a big decline in tourism revenues,” he said.