June 30, 2021

 

Philippines issues guidelines for market access of pork imports

 

 

The Philippines has issued guidelines governing the additional minimum access volume (MAV) of pork imports, The Manila Times reported.

 

The MAV Management Committee Resolution 1 outlined a "calibrated distribution" of 70%, or 140,000 tonnes, from July to October, and the remaining 30%, or 60,000 tonnes, scheduled for November to January next year.

 

It "shall be open to all importers on a first-come first served basis," the resolution read."A maximum limit of 50 Full Container Load (FCL), approximately equivalent to 1,250 MT (metric tonnes), shall be allowed per application per importer."

 

Other importers/new entrants are given equal opportunity subject to the agreed manner of distribution.

 

The promulgation of this resolution was in line with Executive Order (EO) 133, signed on May 10 by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, raising the country's MAV, or in-quota for pork, from 54,210 tonnes to 254,210 tonnes.

 

"It is imperative to immediately address the current supply gap in pork meat, to provide consumers with adequate and affordable food and to lower inflation," Duterte said in his order.

 

Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines, Inc. chairman Nicanor Briones said the industry may stand to lose "₱7 billion to ₱14 billion" (US$144-287.3 million) for the duration of the policy's implementation. He added that the industry had already lost approximately ₱100 billion (US$2.1 billion) due to the combined effects of African swine fever (ASF), import and smuggling of agricultural products.

 

"In the short term, this might help our consumers but in the long run, especially by next year, the shortage of hogs will worsen because of the government's policy when it is supposed to focus on the repopulation and aid hog raisers affected by African swine fever. Consumers will suffer the most with this move," Briones told The Manila Times.

 

He also said increasing pork imports will decrease the farmgate price of hogs, as well as discourage local hog raisers from repopulating and adding more pigs.

 

Rolando Tambago, president of Central Visayas Pork Producers, said the "front loading" of the initial 140,000 tonnes of imported pork will further afflict the local pork industry that is still grappling with the "devastating effects" of ASF.

 

He said the Department of Agriculture should focus more on local production that is more sustainable.

 

"While we understand the intention of the government to lower down inflation rate but I doubt it will happen, considering world market price of pork is also increasing due to ASF and cost of shipping," Tambago said.

 

He added that imported pork should only be sold to Luzon since it is the only region highly affected by ASF, resulting in supply shortage and higher prices early this year.

 

"Visayas and Mindanao is experiencing surplus… that's why our swine farmers are sending live hogs to Luzon. Imported pork should not be distributed to the Visayas and Mindanao," Tambago said.

 

- The Manila Times