Philipines Daily Star
Manila - The smuggling and importation of pork meat pose threats to Filipino hog raisers, Albert R.T. Lim Jr., president of the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc., said.
Lim, who also heads the Negros Occidental Hog Raisers Association, aired the swine industry's concern at the 1st Negros Occidental Hog Congress in Bacolod City that ended Sunday.
He said that smuggled pork meat enters the country because people behind it see the opportunity to sell cheaper pork to Filipinos.
Farmgate prices in China, he said, is only P40 to P45 per kilo while in Negros Occidental it is P75. Retail price in the province is P120 and in Metro Manila, P140, while in China it is P80.
Lim said hog raisers are also complaining against the increasing minimum access volume of meat allowed by the government to enter the country.
"One of reasons (we) complain is because right now, we import up to 50,000 metric tons. Why do we need to import when we have hogs here?" he said.
Lim said there has been a big jump in the amount of imported pork after 1995 when the Philippine lifted quantitative restrictions.
Imported pork meat includes bellies, deboned, fats, offals, pork cuts, rind/skin, and pork carcasses.
He cited statistics showing that from 1990 to 1994, port imports grew by an average of only 7.0 percent, while from 1995 to 2000, they increased by an annual average of 134 percent.
Executive Director Davinio Cabagan of the Bureau of Animal Industry, however, said that the MAV is a commitment of the Philippines to the World Trade Organization and the government must adhere to it.
He said, though, that the BAI and the Department of Agriculture is working on a coordination between the hog industry and the local manufacturers that import pork meat for a supply arrangement between the two industries.
Cabagan said their agency is also coordinating with the Bureau of Customs in intercepting the entry of smuggled meat from China.