October 21, 2009

Philippines' Food Terminal Incorporated bids for pork importation


The Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) in the Philippines has held a public bidding for the special importation of five million tonnes (or 5,000 kilograms) of choice pork cuts under the remaining unused Minimum Access Volume (MAV) allocation, according to Bureau of Animal Industry director Dr. Davinio Catbagan.


Catbagan said the bidding is in line with the approval by Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap of the importation of pork and poultry following a possible supply shortage as a result of the devastation caused by typhoons Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) and Pepeng (Parma).


Catbagan explained the FTI importations would be undertaken using a tax expenditure subsidy, similar to the tax mechanism used last year for the importation of rice.


The special importation of choice pork cuts, Catbagan clarified, is distinct from the regular importation of "manufacturing grade" pork which is used by meat processors.


Choice pork cuts include pork bellies which are subject to a 35 percent tariff outside of the MAV allocations.


According to Agriculture Assistant Secretary Salvador "Doy" Salacup, the DA has determined that there is a 20,000 tonnes or 2,000 kilogram pork supply gap.


There had earlier been some confusion that the DA would allow the importation of between 20,000 and 30,000 tonnes of pork, an amount the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. (NFHFI) deemed was too high.


The NFHFI pointed out that most of the big commercial farms are in Batangas and Bulacan which were not affected by the two typhoons.


Those who were affected were mostly backyard growers, most of whom had actually collapsed due to the series of diseases that hit the hog sector last year.


According to Catbagan, the five million tonnes special importation is being done only to ensure adequate supply even as the majority of the livestock and poultry sector have not been adversely affected by Ondoy and Pepeng.

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