September 24, 2008

 

Philippine hog farmers urges for checks on Canadian meat imports
      
 

Philippine hog farmers are asking the Department of Agriculture to look into possible technical smuggling of Canadian meat products, which may be depressing the hog farm-gate price.

 

The farm-gate price now ranges between PHP 70-80 per kg.

 

There are suspicions that meat import invoices may declare meat prices at a higher cost than the price bought in Canada.

 

"Canada has oversupply in meat. If price in Canada is higher, there may be technical smuggling. If a country dumps a product to another country at a lower price than its domestic price, it's the government's function to check dumping," said an industry official.

 

The National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. (NFHFI) has also been urging the Department to probe into the monitoring of meat price in the wet market and supermarkets, which has been falling despite a slowdown in consumption. Pork prices are weakening as a result.

 

NFHFI vice chairman Renato Eleria said average farm gate prices of commercial hog farmers range between PHP 82-84 per kg with some already selling below PHP 80, and backyard price is worse at PHP 70-75.

 

Yet average selling price of pork thighs in the wet market is still at PHP 170 with supermarkets selling even at above PHP 200 per kg, Eleria added.

 

Another concern is that stocks in storage facilities may be too high, as traders may not distribute the imported meat to the market in order to sell for a higher price. 

 

Meat processors and traders have imported 25,000 tonnes of choice cut pork from January to August 2008 mostly from Canada, five times higher than the 5,000 tonnes imported in the same period in previous years.

 

The NFHF is also pressing the government's continued implementation of the "Pork in a Box" programme that aims to reduce middlemen's cost in order to cut pork price to benefit consumers. The programme also aims to increase cold storage and transport facilities and encourage farmers to slaughter hog at a heavier weight in order to sell the meat at a larger volume.

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