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DA OKs import of 7M kilos of pork to stabilize market prices
Agriculture chief Manny Piñol allowed the importation of seven million kilos of pork to stabilize market prices. An agricultural group, however, claims there’s no shortage in the supply of pork and said allowing more importation would lower prices affecting backyard raisers. File
MANILA, Philippines — Following the continued tight supply of pork, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has allowed the private sector to import approximately seven million kilograms of pork.
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said meat importers will be allowed to bring in seven million kilos of pork to stabilize the price in the market.
"The DA has decided to allow the importation of seven million kilos of pork covered by MAV (minimum access volume) to address the uncontrolled increase in the price of pork in the market," Piñol said.
Supply of pork is tight due to the continuing decline in the number of backyard farmers over the past few years, which has resulted in the significantly higher suggested retail price of the commodity in the local market.
At the current farm gate price, retail price should only be P195 per kilo, but it is now reaching as high as P210 per kilo.
The difference at the farm gate price of live weight hog to retail price of pork should only be P60 per kilo. This should cover transport, handling, storage, marketing and profit margins, but instead, it is now reaching P80 to P90 per kilo.
Piñol slammed local hog raisers for not controlling the price of the commodity, which prompted him to call his technical team to assess the situation.
"I have approved the recommendation of the technical team in view of the seeming insincerity of the hog raisers I talked with last week. I made an appeal that the price of live weight be controlled so that I will not be unduly pressured by the consumers," Piñol said.
"It seems my appeal fell on deaf ears, hence this move to allow importation," the agriculture chief added.
Piñol said he has already informed Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea of the decision.
Hog raisers: There’s no shortage
Meanwhile, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) countered Piñol, saying there is a problem with how he justified the importation.
"Don’t tell us that the hog raisers are the ones with the problem. We want to help him [Piñol], we even told him to identify which places have the high prices. It’s difficult when most of the things he says are vague," Sinag chairman Rosendo So told The STAR.
While the industry group has no problem with the planned importation, So warned that the entry of imported pork might dampen and lower farm gate prices which would, in turn, affect backyard raisers.
“There’s no shortage. It’s just that if we allow more importation, prices will soon go down and yet the government has nothing to offer to help backyard raisers who will be affected,” So said.
Backyard hog raisers comprise 64 percent of the hog industry, while commercial hog producers only account for 36 percent.
Latest data show that backyard hog raisers went down four percent to 7.7 million raisers as of January from eight million in the same period last year.