The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today urged the government to freeze the importation of pork and chicken products and ramp up production support and subsidies to ensure the recovery of domestic pork and chicken industries.
The proposal from the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF), a group of neoliberal economists, for further liberalization of pork imports by increasing the minimum access volume and lowering import tariffs did not sit well with farmers and producers.
“Additional importation and further lowering of tariffs now will damage the local hog and swine industries worse than the African Swine Flu did. Producers and raisers need urgent and significant government support. Importation can be done quick but it is actually detrimental to the supply and price problem we are facing,” says Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP.
KMP posed this proposal in light of the pork and chicken holiday by some retailers and dealers in response to Malacanang’s Executive Order 124 mandating a 60-day price cap on retail pork and chicken. “Ordinary wage earners and low-income consumers have long cut back on their pork and chicken consumption due to exorbitant prices. What the government needs to implement now are strategic and long-term solutions to boost our local production, and ensure sufficient food supply at affordable prices.”
“Government support prices and financial aid for consumers and heavy subsidies for producers are what will pull down pork and chicken prices across the value chain. This would ease the burden for producers, retailers, and consumers. DA can utilize part of its current agriculture stimulus budget to provide necessary government support price,” Ramos said.
“Hindi sapat ang P1-bilyon para sa hog repopulation. May pagkukunan ng pondo ang DA at gobyerno para sa subsidyo at suporta sa pork and chicken producers. Pwedeng pagkunan ng DA ang pondo ng Plant, Plant, Plant, ang pondo ng ACEF at iba pang pondong pang-agrikultura,” the KMP leader said.
“Uulitin namin, ayuda at pagpapalakas sa lokal na produksyon, hindi importasyon ang solusyon,” according to KMP.
DA committed to providing transportation subsidies to pork and chicken producers from Visayas and Mindanao. “The government must be decisive in addressing the ASF problem. Acceleration of hog repopulation is necessary to bolster production.”
KMP supports the recommendation of hog raisers to tag in the market which pork and chicken products are local and which are imported. “Product tagging and subsidized prices will encourage consumers’ support to buy local produce,” Ramos concluded. #