April 7, 2016
Philippines' hog industry under serious threat from continual pork smuggling
The Philippines had suffered tax revenue losses of PHP9 billion (US$195 million) to pork smuggling for the last five years, hog farmers and meat producers said.
About 202 million kilogrammes of the meat had been illegally brought into the country for more than five years as the problem "remains unabated," the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. (NFHFI) and Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc. (Pro-pork) commented.
Smuggling of pork and other agricultural products has also impacted the incomes of at least 80,000 backyard hog raisers, the groups added. Related sectors like corn production could also be affected by the imminent collapse of the backyard hog industry.
"In a span of six years, the backyard hog industry's inventory dropped from 9.54 million heads to 7.95 million heads," the NFHFI, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, and Pro-pork said.
Complicating the problem, pork has been wrongfully declared as offal, fat or skin to avoid a 40% tariff. In 2015, 70% of pork imports were declared in this manner.
As a response to this matter, the Anti Large-Scale Agricultural Smuggling Act was crafted by Abono Party-list Rep. Conrado Estrella III, and awaiting the approval of President Benigno Aquino III.
"We have to actively combat smuggling to curb, if not eradicate, this illegal activity completely," Estrella said. "If farmers continue to lose revenue because of smuggled products flooding the market, no one will want to raise hogs, poultry, and livestock if they cannot make money from them."