January 12, 2021
Philippines exports significant portion of shrimps, says industry group
A significant portion of the Philippines' shrimp productions is exported to other countries even as the nation produces more than enough seafood products to satisfy local consumption.
In a virtual briefing held on January 11, local industry group Tugon Kabuhayan said that up to 15% of the Philippines' total shrimp production is sold outside the archipelago.
"Around 12-15% of our total production (were sold) out of the country. That's the reason why, despite the fact that we produce more shrimps, the existing production is not enough to meet the country's actual consumption because a large part of the total shrimp production is being exported," said Tugon Kabuhayan's convenor, Asis Perez.
Perez told reporters that in particular, premium shrimp products are being sold in markets abroad including Japan, South Korea, Europe and the United States.
"As a result, we are left with no other choice but to import shrimp just to meet our requirements," said Perez, who was a former director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
"Because of the situation, we at the Tugon Kabuhayan, understand very well the need to provide for this requirements by importation and this is also a way for us to support our processors because other entities are buying produce outside the country."
Perez clarified that, although Tugon Kabuhayan is not objecting against imports, it is urging for a stricter implementation of food safety regulations.
Norberto Chingcuanco, co-convenor of Tugon Kabuhayan, said food safety should be the government's "foremost priority," noting that local exporters like him are subjected to rigid food safety guidelines of other countries.
"You are qualified to export but our local products will be accepted abroad if you comply with other requirements — the label and the package. It must comply with the listing - no prohibited chemicals are included in the list of ingredients and should be in the language they specified," said Chingcuanco, who is also the vice president for planning of Feedmix Group, an entity engaged in integrated aquaculture. He said his company exports products to 27 countries.
Exporters, on the other hand, only need to present a health certificate indicating that their products are safe for consumption.
Perez said the planned border inspection facility in the Philippines will help in ensuring food safety, particularly in conducting all the tests and inspections on agricultural products from overseas.
"We are hoping that the process can be faster especially for fisheries products. We're just hoping and we are in full support of accelerating this development," he said.
- The Manila Times