December 08, 2003

 

 

Philippines' Hog Farmers Appeal For Ban On Imports from Foot-and-Mouth Disease Countries

 

The Philippines National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. (NFHFI) has issued an appeal to President Arroyo to certify as urgent Senate Bill 1004 before the momentum of the 2004 elections catches up with the legislative process.

 

The bill calls for a ban on importation of animals and meat products from countries and sources listed as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)-risky by the Office des Epizooties (OIE), the world¡¯s primary animal health safety organization.

 

In a letter appeal to the president, NFHFI national chairman Nemesio G. Co and NFHFI president Albert R.T. Lim said: "It is better to prevent FMD from entering the country through importation than to spend billions trying to control and stop outbreaks of the deadly disease."

 

To date, hog farmers spend no less than P1.2 for vaccines against FMD. Although Visayas, Mindanao, Palawan and Masbate have been declared FMD-free, Luzon is still struggling with the debilitating livestock problem, hence the big cost of medicines.

 

The first time the country opened its door to FMD-infested meat products in 1993, the swine industry was hit hard by a series of outbreaks starting in 1995 that cost hog raisers P2 billion in losses.

 


The two industry leaders fear of fresh outbreaks that will shove the industry to the brink of disaster coupled with other constraints such as other animal diseases, high production costs and low farm gate prices due to undue competition from imported meat and other meat products. Add to that rampant smuggling of animals and meat products and carabeef imports from FMD-risk India for food processing.

 

"Imagine the effects of the collapse of an P80 billion industry that supports 3.8 million Filipinos in corn farming, feed milling, hog raising, meat processing, marketing and tinderas in wet markets for fresh meats," the letter said. "Imagine the economic dislocation, loss of job opportunities, bankruptcy and closure of commercial and backyard piggeries."

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